Eric Niebuhr ( www.ericniebuhr.com) was born in La Marque, TX in 1972, American-Australian artist Eric Niebuhr has lived in Houston, London, Los Angeles and Sydney before moving to Hong Kong in October 2012. He held his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong in 2015, and has shown internationally including the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and the Jewish Museum in San Francisco. In addition to receiving reviews in numerous publications including Artforum magazine and The Los Angeles Times, he has had recent interviews in Artnews, The South China Morning Post, Reuters TV, and a RTHK Hong Kong Heritage radio program.
My paintings are based on gouache and computer-aided studies of photo-based and digital sources. I use acrylic with a combination of mediums to create puddled areas of paint, amorphous passages, and flat shapes. I often have an emotive direction in mind, but hope to create an image that lends itself to indefinite readings. I am interested in the abstract formal qualities that the source and the paint material offers, as well as the psychic impression or suggestive visuals derived from the original source.
The “Dragon Holes” paintings are formally and thematically inspired by a unique Hong Kong architectural feature, “dragon holes”; a Feng Shui design concept for a building to have a passage (hole), in order to allow a dragon to pass through freely. The colors and forms on the facades caused by the atmospheric effects at different intervals of the day offer the formal elements I use in constructing the painting. I became interested in exploring the idea of these building’s framing of space, especially in relation to the historically use of the void in painting and the concept of a portal, which could transport the viewer from one space into another.
Chance and circumstance is something that continues to be a strong pull for discovering visual sources. My current developing series reference trolley push carts used for transporting goods and rubbish on the streets of Hong Kong. The improvised use of materials to bundle objects on the carts become the composition source for color, line, and shapes in the paintings. I first encountered a particularly striking trolley cart walking around the streets of Hong Kong. The arrangement of bungee cords, ribbon, fabric and rope on the cart created an uncanny moment that stopped me in my tracks. After that unexpected encounter, I began purposefully looking at the backs of trolley carts as accidental abstract and expressive compositions, making an effort to find ones that seem to have their own individual expressions.