Jeff Elrod

Jeff Elrod

United States 1966

Digital Art, Abstract Art

Jeff Elrod
Jeff Elrod
United States
September 17, 2014
Music, Gestalt, .

Jeff Elrod is an American artist – an abstract painter known for using both digital and analog processes in the creation of his work.

Inspired by Video Game Imagery

Elrod was born in Irving, Texas in 1966. He got his Bachelor degree in Fine Arts on University of North Texas in Denton, in 1991. Next year Jeff also graduated at Royal Academy of Visual Arts in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

In the beginning of early 1990’s Elrod was fascinated by super graphics and video game imagery that was developing very fast at the time. First, he began painting abstractions inspired by that aesthetics. According to artist’s own confession – Jeff was an obsessive fan of first-generation video games such as Pong and the Atari series. He was in love with its “totally minimal, terse, abstract lines” and pretty soon he realized that he can actually create art using that inspiration.

Brion Gysin’s Dream Machine

Jeff Elrod - Dream Machine (For Brion Gysin) By Jeff Elrod
Jeff Elrod – Dream Machine (For Brion Gysin) By Jeff Elrod

In the early 90’s Jeff created some looping line drawings inspired by artist and poet Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine from 1961. By using the hallucinatory effects of Gysin’s machine – Elrod processed Brion’s original drawings into blurred lines and he also shifted the color in Photoshop, creating overall fields of colored soft cloud-like forms that resist focus and “cannibalizing” original work just to create hybridized, multi-layered and self-reflexive paintings.

Jeff Elrod’s Frictionless Drawing

In 1997 Jeff was already using the computer to facilitate paintings and also to completely distance himself from the conscious part of his mind. Technique he developed then was called “frictionless drawing” – based on the software program that for the line and color fields production but, at the same time – with no direct intervention of the artist’s hand. This digital breed of automatic writing helped the artist to enjoy the freedom to experiment with his subconscious mind – while aligning his work with the long history of painting and abstraction.

Jeff Elrod’s tool are mostly editing programs like Photoshop or Illustrator – he fully adopted their typical forms of digital imagery. Once done with those, Jeff transposes this newly created computer design on canvas through classical painting, drawing, spraying or even printing.

Somewhere in the area between analogue and digital production – Jeff’s art is born, interweaving somehow with the profound history of painting, abstraction and digital movement. The relationship between hand-painted and digitally created mark-making is what triggers this artist. Elrod is using the experience of the artists from the late twentieth century abstraction movement, and combines it with the sophisticated software and print technology.

For his, let’s call it analogue techniques, Jeff chose acrylic, tape, and airbrush – he uses together with already mentioned frictionless digital drawings to create paintings with shifts between an illusory depth and flat planes of color.

Echo paintings

In time, as Photoshop evolved, Jeff’s technique also developed, changing and discreetly embracing a new tool or trick this editing program would gain or improve in each new version. Jeff does not make plans ahead of his canvases, in the beginning the computer works, saves, and re-works many drawings. For one show, artist changed the routine, an instead of painting after digital image on canvas by his hand – he presented printing instead, used printers to produce the final work.

Jeff Elrod’s Echo painting

Jeff Elrod - Echo painting (green), 2012
Jeff Elrod – Echo painting (green), 2012

Another series of artwork by Jeff is called the Echo paintings and was presented to the public in 2012. All pieces belonging to this series were produced and are produced from hard-edged digital drawings he transformed into blurred images – of course, by using Photoshop. Printed in UV ink on canvas, with just two and three-tone color spread across the painting field, transforming that hard edged web into amorphous clouds of color.

This exhibition held at Brooklyn’s Journal Gallery was a certain so called “re-breakthrough” for this artist who went a bit off the radar after his galerist Pat Hearn (the one who provided his first solo show in NY) died in 2000. Interesting fact is that this gallery is kind of known for embracing mid-career or emerging artists who are pretty often lost in the frenetic contemporary art market.

Nobody Sees like Us at MoMA

That it was the right place at the right time proves the fact that collector Richard Chang, from the board of MoMA PS1, saw the Journal show and called Elrod to hold an exhibition in MoMA. Those two shows were enough to boost Jeff’s reputation among art world intellectuals.

In 2013, Jeff held an exhibition titled Nobody Sees like Us at MoMA. The artworks he presented then were made based on his previous work inspired by Brion Gysin. Only, this time, the show was about exchange this poet and artist had with writer William S. Burroughs surrounding the famous dream machine. This device was made by Somerville in the early 50s built to stimulate the optical nerves by using oscillating light frequencies. The machine was notorious for the possibility to evoke the hallucinatory effects.

Jeff Elrod’s Exhibition Nobody Sees Like Us exhibition at MoMA

Jeff Elrod - Nobody Sees Like Us exhibition installation view, MoMA, 2013
Jeff Elrod – Nobody Sees Like Us exhibition installation view, MoMA, 2013

This artist’s work can be found in such publications as Jeff Elrod: Nobody Sees Like Us by MoMA PS1, FOCUS: Jeff Elrod at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, BitStreams at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Glee: Painting Now at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, or Abstract Painting, Once Removed at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
Jeff’s paintings belong to many public and private collections like that of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection in Washington D.C.

Elrod received the Louis Comfort Tiffany award and the Claire Hart De Goyer Award that is given by the Dallas Museum of Art.

Jeff Elrod currently lives and works in Marfa, Texas.

All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Open Source: Art at the Eclipse of Capitalism Galerie Max Hetzler (Berlin and Paris)Group
2015Jeff ElrodSimon Lee, Hong KongSolo
2015Carte Blanche to Luhring AugustineGalerie Patrick Seguin, ParisGroup
2014Jeff Elrod: Rabbit EarsLuhring Augustine, New York, NYSolo
2014Walk The LineSimon Lee Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2013Nobody Sees Like UsMoMA PS1, New York, NYSolo
2013Jeff ElrodSimon Lee Gallery, London, EnglandSolo
2013ReMap 4ReMap, AthensGroup
2013Shaking the HabitualKravets / Wehby Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Fantasy IslandTexas Gallery, Houston, TXGroup
2012Echo PaintingsThe Journal Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2012EaglesMarlborough Gallery, Madrid, SpainGroup
2012Mix/RemixLuhring Augustine, New York, NYGroup
2012Dedicated to you but You Weren’t Listening , Corbett vs. DempseyChicago, ILGroup
2011Letters from the SkyGalerie Jean-Luc + Takako Richard, Paris, FranceSolo
2011El EspectroCompact Gallery, San Luis Obispo, CASolo
2011New VariationsTalley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, TexasGroup
2011Powders, a Phial, and a Paper BookMarlborough, New YorkGroup
2010Flower ThiefDunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas, TexasSolo
2010The IncompleteGalerie Jean-Luc + Takako Richard, ParisGroup
2009Jeff ElrodModern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TexasSolo
200910th Anniversary ExhibitionDunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas, TexasGroup
2009Secret Life of ObjectsMidway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MinnesotaGroup
2008Jeff ElrodLeo Koenig Inc, New York, New YorkSolo
2008The IncompleteThe Chelsea Art Museum, New YorkGroup
2007Fingers Never StopTexas Gallery, Houston, TexasSolo
2007Beneath the Underdog , Gagosian Gallery, New York, New YorkGroup
2007Late LibertiesJohn Connelly Presents, New YorkGroup
2007Elrod/Flood/ZilmMarty Walker Gallery, Dallas, TexasGroup
2006New PaintingsFredericks & Freiser, New York, New YorkSolo
2005All in the FamilyTexas Gallery, Houston, TexasGroup
2004Indigestible CorrectnessParticipant, New YorkGroup
2004Chaotic OrderHouldsworth Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2003Jeff Elrod, Torben Giehler, Erik ParkerTexas Gallery, Houston, TexasGroup
2003Nicole Eisenman, Jeff Elrod, Torben Giehler, Tony MatelliGaleria Marabini, Bologna, ItalyGroup
2002Analog PaintingsLeo Koenig Inc., New York, New YorkSolo
2002Schipper & KromeBerlin, GermanySolo
2002Wall Street RisingNew York, NYGroup
2002New Economy PaintingACME, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup
2002Subject MattersKraverts/Wehby Gallery, New YorkGroup
2002Abstract ReduxDanese Gallery, New YorkGroup
2002Heike Kati Barath, Jeff Elrod, Sarah Rapson, Tam Van Tran, Cornelius Volker, Clare WoodsCohan and Leslie, New York City, NY (closed)Group
2001Flatland, Paolo Curti & Co.Milan, ItalySolo
2001Jeff ElrodAngstrom Gallery, Dallas, TexasSolo
2001BitstreamsWhitney Museum of American Art, New YorkGroup
2001Glee: Painting NowThe Palm Beach Institute for Contemporary Art, Palm Beach, FloridaGroup
2001Before They Become Who They AreKravets/Wehby Gallery, New YorkGroup
2000New PaintingsPat Hearn Gallery, New York, New YorkSolo
2000Glee: Painting Now , The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, ConnecticutGroup
2000Collectors ChoiceExit Art, New YorkGroup
2000Ambient Fiction: Jeff Elrod, Monique Prieto, Jeff ZilmPat Hearn Gallery, New York, New YorkGroup
2000PictThe Walther Phillips Gallery at Banff Centre, Banff, CanadaGroup
2000Jeff Elrod and Pamela FraserSchipper & Krome, Berlin, GermanyGroup
1999Jeff ElrodArtPace, San Antonio, TexasSolo
1999FabstractionDonna Beam Fine Art Gallery, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NevadaGroup
1999Texas DrawsContemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TexasGroup
1999MalereiINIT Kunst-Halle, Berlin, GermanyGroup
1999Jeff Elrod and Lisa RuyterPat Hearn Gallery, New YorkGroup
1998The SquarepusherChinati Foundation, Marfa, TexasSolo
1998Heroes & ZerosTexas Gallery, Houston, TexasSolo
1998Painting, Now and Forever, Part I ,Pat Hearn Gallery & Matthew Marks Gallery, New YorkGroup
1998Abstract Painting, Once RemovedContemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TexasGroup
1998Abstract Painting, Once RemovedThe Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MissouriGroup
1997Analog PaintingsTexas Gallery, Houston, TexasSolo
1997OktoberfestTexas Gallery, Houston, TexasGroup
1997DisiptoeyAngstrom Gallery, Dallas, TexasGroup
1996Tragic Fading SupergraphicArt of This Century, Houston, TexasGroup