Eric Garner: Multiple Repeat Mistakes

Hylton Performing Arts Center, Buchanan Partners Art Gallery


February 21 –April 15

This exhibition features the artist’s recent drawings which utilize precise draftsmanship for ambiguous ends. Included are Garner’s series Text Grids (2021 – 2022) and Collages (2018 -2021). Text Grids uses the visual language of cross-stitch pattern diagrams to create pixelated text panels which range widely in content from homespun nostalgic phrases and family recipes to historical accounts or random facts. Taken together the works replicate and comment on the kind of informational overload encountered on the internet, where the autonomy and relevance of any given topic is polluted, distorted, and presented with a free-associative logic by the underlying technical apparatuses of personalized advertising and unknowable algorithmic criteria.

Garner’s Collages are each composed of the artist’s small daily drawings arranged together into larger units and guided by similar disorienting logic as the Text Grids. Each discrete drawing presents a fragment of a larger system, including snippets of orthographic projections, patterns, texts, graphs, or diagrams. Again, Garner’s exacting draftsmanship lends each element a sense of obscure but concrete identity that is undermined by the act of collaging the varied elements together on panels. Unified by the beauty of Garner’s controlled mark-making, the works seem to reveal a pictorial abyss of raw data or possibly a technical subconscious – with its endless streams of jargon, engineering, and organizational processes undergirding and imprinting on everyday life in an advanced society.

About the Artist

Eric Garner received a BAS in studio art and civil engineering and an MS in civil engineering from Stanford University.  He served on active duty in the United States Air Force until 1993, and following, worked in the commercial construction industry, managing building projects in Seattle, San Jose, Miami, and the Washington D.C. area.  Garner completed his MFA degree in 2004 at the University of Maryland. He currently teaches drawing and design at Northern Virginia Community College and lives in Bethesda, MD.