From a distance, Eliot Handley’s layered canvases look like frenetic masses of color and shape, kaleidoscopic fragments that seem to be dominated by the four sharp edges of the canvas. But up close, the blurry edges become clear, and recognizable shapes and words stand out from the gorgeous collage. For artists, these two-dimensional works share many of the same impulses as opera. Exaggeratedly dramatic and emotional, in his own words, rather “artificial.”
In an exclusive interview filmed in 2015 as part of Art21 extended play In the series Hundley explains the similarities between the two art forms and expands on his artistic practice.
In opera, everything dials up to 11, from the make-up and character costumes, to the stratospheric highs to the subterranean lows to the “ridiculous proposition” at the heart of each story. “I put on a fictional opera,” Handley tells Art21. “Generating some kind of emotional response from my work is definitely my goal,” he says. If opera is like a funhouse mirror that reflects everyday life, so is Handley’s collage.
“I think it resonates because it’s made of things we see every day,” he says. It reflects our reality. And it’s self-explanatory. ”
Handley’s masterpiece balcony (2020–21) is making his Los Angeles debut with “Echo,” his upcoming solo show with Regen Projects. A 40-foot mural depicts images from pop culture. Quaker oat containers, Canada Dry club soda, African masks, and pin-up girls juxtapose religious and political imagery, blending fantasy with the reality of everyday life. According to the gallery, the piece is named after Jean Genet’s 1956 play.
Watch the video that appeared as part of the series on Art21 new york close up under. ‘Elliott Hundley: Echo’ will screen at Regen Projects from January 14, 2023 to his February 19th.
This is the first installment of Art on Video, a collaboration between Artnet News and Art21 that brings you clips from trending artists.New season of non-profit Art21’s flagship series 21st century art Available now on PBS.Catch all episodes of other series new york close up When extended playand learn about the organization’s education programs at Art21.org.
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