Eric Aho’s latest body of work features captivating abstract scenes of the natural world. United by a horizontal band at the base of each painting— the surface of a lake, pond, or river—these new works capture the intimate experience of connecting to the sublime within nature.
This body of work is a portrait of Aho’s time spent outdoors with his wife, Rachel. As Rachel enjoys fishing and wandering along the riverbank, Eric casts his brush across a canvas and wanders in a different way. Absorbed in his work, Aho meditates on the colors and patterns before him. His paintings are gestural impressions of the shades, tones, and textures of the landscape. Aho’s en plein air compositions are smaller in scale compared to his work in the studio. After completing a scene on the water’s edge, Aho uses the same color palette to recreate the study in his studio on a large canvas. These paintings are often life-size, allowing the viewer to stand before the work, become engulfed in the scene, and find a sense of connection to the environment before them. Writer Tim Weed, found this connection to be the most important part of Aho’s paintings: “A vibrating current of electricity dwells just behind everything in nature and the encounter with the painting, like [an] encounter with [a] trout, links you to that current, if only for a fleeting instant. A connection is made between you and something larger. Something important and true” (Weed).
Within each painting, Aho brilliantly captures the dichotomy of being in the wilderness, feeling connected to the environment and at the same moment disrupting the natural setting. In the painting, River Line, Aho captures the serenity of the river’s edge, looking out into a forest of blue-green trees. The bright sky above the dark green lake invites the viewer to explore an elevating upward glace and contemplate the quiet stillness before them. However, there is an interruption within the scene. A line is cast across the water - informing the viewer that she is not alone. Rather she is an interruption to the natural environment. Each of Aho’s paintings exemplify this separation and union between oneself and nature.
Born in Melrose, Massachusetts, Aho studied at the Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London, England and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA. Aho has exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, among others.