‘All the Good Things Will Be Yours’ : An Insight to Eric Lee’s Connection with Superior

Artists, Bicycle Fine Art, Feature Article, Original Painting

Eric Lee
All the Good Things Will Be Yours, 2014
[EL.01]
Oil and explosives on four panels
Dimensions: 84 x 48 in.

All The Good Things Will Be Yours is about wanting. Wanting something unattainable; and this because it doesn’t want me in return. To some extent it’s about rejection and not knowing it’s for good reason. What’s shown is a city on a hill, but one that is overgrown and neglected and assembled in an almost childish way. This is a highly personalized vantage point from which I, without realizing it, superimpose my immediate surroundings, the surroundings I want to escape, onto a distant hill because I can’t imagine anything better. I drag my buildings one at a time to this new place, this new life and new potential, never thinking to do anything different. Any good I get is lost on me, so I rebuild the same city. This inability to see or define this better-ness means all wanting is illusory and just a projection of myself, just more of the same. So I suppose it’s about cycles.”

Eric Lee
All the Good Things Will Be Yours, 2014
(Detail 1 of 6)

“Imagine looking at a place and wanting to be there very much, because it’s better than where you are. Then imagine that you’re looking at this place, but what you see are the same buildings and streets, the same feelings that surround you everyday. Then try to see yourself realizing this. That’s what’s happened here.”

Eric Lee
All the Good Things Will Be Yours, 2014
(Detail 2 of 6)

“One of my grandpa’s many expressions was “no matter where you go, there you are”. Once I saw past the humor of it and realized what it meant, I didn’t like it. It’s a sort of inevitability, that you’re stuck with yourself. I used to look across a bay at a city that was much more beautiful than the one I lived in. It was better in every way. But it turns out I lived in my city for a reason, and I’d drag it with me if I tried going over there.”

Eric Lee
All the Good Things Will Be Yours, 2014
(Detail 3 of 6)

“The buildings on this panel are taken largely from Ogden Ave. in Superior, Wisconsin, where I lived above a discount grocery store that sold dented cans of soup and cereal with torn boxes for half-price. I could see a huge coal dock from my window, and beyond that and in stark contrast the beautiful Duluth lights and all they meant. This set the tone for the next 20 years, and this painting in its own very  particular way faces up to that.”

Eric Lee
All the Good Things Will Be Yours, 2014
(Detail 4 of 6)

“I’ve never liked sunny days or blue skies. I like cloudy days, especially when the clouds are really close. One day a terrific storm pounded the Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior. I was working in a tourist trap restaurant prepping food I couldn’t afford when the power went out and three funnels were sited in the harbor. We’d just heard Frank Sinatra died. It was the one day I truly loved being in Duluth.”

Eric Lee
All the Good Things Will Be Yours, 2014
(Detail 5 of 6)

“This is a combination of ignited gunpowder and fire on panel. I was asked by an art history professor why I didn’t just paint these things, or use charcoal for a sooty effect. I didn’t understand the question at all. It wasn’t until later that I realized why:  I wasn’t doing it for effect, though I like how it looks. I was doing it out of a connection to the process. Later still I saw it as lending itself directly to what it is I continue to try to say. In other words, I identify with it.”

Eric Lee
All the Good Things Will Be Yours, 2014
(Detail 6 of 6)

“The use of fire in my paintings has sustained my interest for years. It’s chaotic and yet an element of control or direction exists. It’s stood for many things: life cycles, destruction, death and rebirth, heaven, hell and the turmoil of this life. It’s elusive yet powerful in its presence. It’s immediate but leaves an undeniable history. It’s not done with me yet.”

Posted by

Lisa-Thi Beskar, Art Advisor & Curator