Eric N. Mack, whose monumental fabric installations were standouts at the 2019 Whitney Biennial, has joined Paula Cooper Gallery in New York. Mack will continue to be represented by Morán Morán in Los Angeles. A new work by the artist, titled Lucky, will be featured in the gallery’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach next week.
Though they create large-scale installation pieces, Mack resolutely identifies as a painter. Their hand-stained silks and cottons are suspended from the ceiling to encourage viewers to respond to them in a more intimate way—they can be walked around, walked under, entered, and viewed from every angle. The Maryland native has attributed this artistic approach to being raised by two exhibition designers who worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
“The way that I think about painting is as a combination of gesture and the trace of the hand and the way that the painter manipulates shapes into a kind of emotional space,” Mack told Artnet News in 2017.
After completing the Studio Museum in Harlem’s influential residency program in 2015, Mack also participating in that year’s recurring Greater New York exhibition at MoMA PS1 in New York. The same year as their showing at the Whitney Biennial Mack had a major institution show at the Brooklyn Museum. For “Lemme walk across the room,” Seat Pleasant (2019) activated the museum’s atrium, and also included fashion and musical performance components during its run to create a multi-sensory experience.
Last year, the New York–based artist first included in a group exhibition at the gallery alongside Lynda Benglis and Kelley Walker, followed by their inclusion in a rotating exhibition in the gallery’s seasonal location in Palm Beach, Florida. Currently on display in the gallery’s vitrine space on West 21st Street in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood is Mack’s installation Landlord, “a painting in found fabric and an assemblage in space” that is comprised of swaths of multicolored fabrics gathered and draped around flagpoles and umbrellas, according to an exhibition description.
In 2021 Mack was awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy, which includes a six-month residency, where the artist is currently researching the wrappings of Roman monuments by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.