NEW YORK – Fou Gallery is pleased to present past is present is future, egg tempera paintings, and porcelain sculptures by Michael Eade. This is Eade’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, showcasing work that explores the broad themes of creation, rebirth, renewal and the cycles of life.
Throughout the collection of 19 paintings and 12 porcelain sculptures, viewers are drawn into lush, dreamy otherworldly landscapes. Eade’s vision of nature is close up and highly detailed. He takes great care to carefully individualize each leaf, branch, plant, and blade of grass, which all come together in a lusciously dense composition, often anchored by age-old towering tree trunks.
In Tree of Life Reflected (2018), Eade’s iconic “Tree of Life” towers over a lake. Flowers on the opposite bank obscure the reflection of its leaves and a wild apple branch comes in from the side. His rendering of this tree is inspired by his study of the ancient fruit forests found in Kazakhstan and the western border of China. These endangered forests are considered the genetic origin of apples and over 300 other fruits and nuts on our planet, and thus are a literal “Garden of Eden”. Because the apple is a potent symbol with different meanings in many world cultures and intending to eulogize these forests, Eade’s “Tree of Life” is fecund with exquisite gilded golden apples. Robust and full of life, the tree’s anthropomorphic branches reach out and give life to the land and forest.
Methuselah (2019) is his rendering of the “Methuselah Tree,” a real bristlecone pine found in the mountains of eastern California. Over 4,800 years old, this tree is among the longest-lived life forms on earth. Bristlecone pines thrive where most other plants cannot even grow, such as in rocky soils and areas with virtually no rainfall. Eade’s Methuselah honors this magnificent tree by giving it center stage on the canvas, enlarging its scale and painstakingly gilding both the sprouting and fully developed leaves. “For me, Methuselah represents longevity and the timelessness of nature when it is in balance,” explains Eade.
Other works such as Change of Season, No. 2 (2016) showcase Eade’s mastery of naturalistic detail, where intertwining leaves and branches shine in radiant greens, golds, reds and brown hues. In his Sunset and Gilded Nurse Log (2017), a fallen, decaying old-growth tree provides safe harbor and food for the emergence and sustainability of a different generation of plants. Additionally, always exploring alternative mediums, Eade has extracted his nurse logs and stumps out of his paintings to create editions varie (EV) in porcelain.