Eric Gushee is a Chicago based artists, who was born and raised in New York City. His interest in art was first found at Marlboro College, where he studied creative writing. But after a particularly compelling art-installation class, he fell in love with sculpture and went on to study the subject. During his stay at Marlboro, Eric devoted himself to the arts, graduating with highest honors. After two years of being a practicing artist, he decided to further his academic career by attending The Art Institute of Chicago and graduated with a BFA in 2010. Upon graduating, Gushee landed a job at a small local foundry called West Supply, where he crafted high-end bronze furniture for the likes of Holly Hunt. It was there that his seemingly animate work, characterized by strands of metal woven into organic, circular layers, was first noticed by Hunt’s team. The brand commissioned Gushee to create pieces for its various interiors showrooms, and the rest, as they say, is history: “I quit my job and became a full-time artist.”
Much of Eric’s work is a struggle between the two and three-dimensional worlds, the shadows cast by his sculptures often can be seen in his drawings and sometimes the drawings themselves are made from the sculpture’s materials. His work combines the unfamiliar world with the familiar, he does not try to disguise the materials he uses but embraces them for what they are and can be.
Often described as organic, Gushee’s sculptures are further influenced by the artist’s vast collection of doilies and lace, which he uses as an inspiration library for manipulating his works. “My practice is an interpretation and distortion of traditional fiber techniques,” he explains. “It is a reference to the discipline of the craft.” In one of his pieces, wild hair-like brass wires and knitted strands of stainless steel are tangled together. As part of his Topography Series, meanwhile, untamed strands of aircraft cable are barely held together by bead-like aluminum crimps. Recently, he used leftover scraps of metal from his Emergence Series to fashion the large billowing shapes of his Exhalation Series–which, at first glance, recalls threads of fine spun glass. In some of his more explorative work, these fibrous materials interact with Gushee’s own sketches and paintings on the surface of a canvas.
“Every day, I get the chance to experiment with new materials and their relationship to one another, constantly testing their limitations and boundaries to find new forms. “It is this physicality of art via materiality, and the endless vocabulary the world gives us, that motivates me.”