Featured Artist: George Ehnatby Charles Spillar on Sep. 10, 2009, under arts, Tucson Art
If you enjoy truly “original” contemporary artwork, you will appreciate the work of George Ehnat. He is presently exhibiting at Dinnerware Contemporary Art Gallery now celebrating their 30th year. The opening reception was held Saturday September 12. George Ehnat was one of the original founders of Dinnerware in 1979 when it started as a Co-op Gallery.
Ehnat’s new exhibition offers some of his latest creations. An artist for over 45 years, his body of work speaks for itself. Bronze, stone, marble, wood, are his favorite mediums. He gets his inspirations from the streams of consciousness reflected in everyday life experiences like people, art, news, etc. Below are a few of his signature pieces.
Ehnat’s creations are influenced by his own father’s paintings from in his youth. Unfortunately, his dad was severly injured in WWII and his paintings after that were limited because of his disability. Another strong influence was André Breton, who’s Surrealism became a European movement that influenced all domains of art. Breton’s work questioned the origin of human understanding and human perceptions of things and events and a different interpretation of reality.
For the past 12 years George has traveled numerous times to Eastern Europe going back to understand his roots. While there he met Andrej Rudavsky, and was invited to use his studio to create works at the studio in Bratislava, Slovakia. Rudavsky, a sculptor famous when Russia invaded Czechoslovakia , wouldn’t sign papers of allegiance to Russia so was ostracized and lost numerous commissions because of it. When Slovakia became a Republic he became reinstated.
When you view the artist’s work your first impression is the professional workmanship. Looking closer you will find the true story behind their meaning. For example the wall sculpture CHANGING COATS, at first looks like a unique encaustic abstract. The true story is reflected in the title and the realization that the Slovakian people had to constantly ‘”change” with the changing oppressive administrations forced on them by the Russians.
His bronze pieces on display are “one-of-a -kind”. He first creates them out of oil-based clay, makes a mold and then uses the lost wax process to make the bronze. He does his own finishing and patina. George has done only one bronze in his career that was more than one casting preferring only one original.
Ehnat’s marble and stone pieces are uniquely different. The artist states “I just start craving the stone not knowing for sure what it will be and eventually the stone seems to tell me what it wants to be and I create it.”
Unlike many artists creating works closely resembling their other works, George Ehnat is constantly exploring new ideas. In this exhibition there are several new pieces that reflect his uniqueness. Painting the Danube installation is one of those as is the very contemporary new wall piece TETRA, a sculpture created just for this show. His new digographics on view at the exhibit are also a new expression for the artist.
Andrej Rudavsky helped the artist become a member of the Slovak Artist’s Union in Bratislava. George has had several prestigious exhibitions in Slovakia and is in permanent collections there. From his travels he has become very interested in the lives of the Gypsies and is presently doing a study about them. Their unusual lifestyle will no doubt influence some of his future work.
If you enjoy fine art I recommend you viewing the exhibition at Dinnerware Contemporary Art Gallery, 264 E. Congress St. ((520) 792-4503) http://www.dinnerwarearts.com/
The public opening celebrated the 30th year of the Dinnerware Galley being in Tucson. (1979-2009) This Ehnat exhibition will run until September 26.
* More of George Ehnat’s work can be seen on his facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ehnatsculpture