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OUTSIDE THE BOX

E. Gibbons

Monochromatic Oil paintings of nude figures from THE BOX SERIES

On View
January 19 - March 8, 2008


Opening Night Reception
Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

Download the complete catalog for the show
See Limited Edition Prints.

It is human nature to put put people in a box. E. Gibbons takes that idea literally. The New Jersey artist, who gleans inspiration from classical subject matter, has created more than 120 black & white oil paintings of male and female figures for his BOX SERIES. phd gallery will host a solo exhibition of Gibbons' work and will hang 40 of his near lifesize canvases.

Inspired by themes and images from classical painters like Michelangelo, Ingres, and Classicist, Jacques-Louis David, Gibbons' boxes are his environments, his still lifes and his visual voice. Some figures confront while others recede, some welcome your gaze and others outright reject you. The limited color, subject and space create a powerfully focused and iconic image that expresses the artist's prejudices, apprehensions, aspirations and ideals. Dr. John P. Burke, Professor of Sociology at Harris Stowe State University in St. Louis contends that the artist, "uses the boxes to define his reality. They focus our attention on his images, his values, his worldview. Each iconic representation within the lines of the box expresses how he views the connection of people and things meaningfully." (Read Professor Burke's essay below)

The work is on view January 19 through March 8, 2008 with an opening reception on Saturday, January 19, from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. The event is free and the artist will attend.

Putting People in Boxes: by John P. Burke, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Harris-Stowe State University

E. Gibbons likes to put people in boxes, and sociologists do too. Both use the image of that confined, defined space as the environment within which they explore the most elemental form of social life... connections between people and things which change them both forever. Within that defined space, all biographies and all histories begin to unfold. The social reality within the box can open our lives to new and previously unimagined experiences; points us to ideas and images never before contemplated. It frees us from our physical and social boundaries, and enables us to redefine ourselves. The reality within the box also defines the physical and social geography of our lives, our vision and our experiences. It constrains our perspective to the known, the familiar, the comfortable. It defines our limits of certainty, the boundary where alternative visions are not allowed consideration. Whether they are connecting us or separating us, the boxes outline the collective meanings that give form to our experiences.

Philip Hitchcock, curator and phd gallery director, has selected forty of E. Gibbons' finest paintings to be in the St. Louis exhibition: OUTSIDE THE BOX. Gibbons uses the boxes to define his reality. They focus our attention on his images, his values, his worldview. Each iconic representation within the lines of the box expresses how he views the connection of people and things meaningfully. The images (vessels, urns, goblets, knives and swords, posed human bodies, water, weapons, garlands, pillars, statuary, timepieces) represent the context of his interpretations, his biography as formed through the social experiences in which he participated, the histories through which a consensual meaning was created. He uses his boxes to focus our attention on his reality, his world of substance, value, purpose and truth. He plays again with the contextual definition of meaning by juxtaposing the boxes, creating new perimeters within which understanding becomes a relational product created from previously separate meanings. What was individual now becomes associational, and once again, we are presented with the contextual nature of meaning in Gibbon's social reality.

Gibbons also plays with us. His images await the individual, consensual, community perspectives we bring to the boxes, and, once again, the meaning reflects our social reality, but now, confronted by his. Two sets of boxes in distinct social realities, awaiting the outcome of this definitional moment. The experience can draw us into the familiar, perceived in his reality. The experience can also snap back on us, and whip our sensibility of what is good and what is not. The experience can open us to the possibility of looking at images in a new way, or, force us uncomfortably back into our boxes of certainty. Boxes connect, boxes separate.

John P. Burke, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Harris-Stowe State University
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