I went to the Zenith Gallery to see 26 yr.old Drew Ernst make his painting debut in Washington, DC. I was impressed with the quality and commitment of this young artist. Ernst paints in a realist style. As I stood with the excited mix of collectors and visitors, his paintings sold like hotcakes. There was a tangible buzz in the air over the freshly painted oil canvases and watercolors on display. I spoke a little with Drew during the opening of "Connected". From the ripe age of 13. Drew's father has played a significant part in furthering his son's creative passion including driving him miles in search of excellent art materials and modeling for larger than life canvases. Ernst studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, a bastion of American realism painting. He drew from cadavers at the Hanaman Medical School in Philadelphia to learn the intricacies of the human form. Ernst's watercolor technique rivals that of Andrew Wyeth and several of his oils contain a structured composition recalling the Neoclassicism of Jacques-Louis David.
Ernst's themes are contemporary, rural, patriotic and rich with a passion for life and connections. His figures echo a strong connection to the earth and to each other. Drew is not adverse to hard work as witnessed by his monumental canvases and he seems wise beyond his years. He lives in Ohio and will be showing his work at the Zenith Gallery through January 8. This is an exhibition not to be missed!
"Every emotion goes into my paintings - love, hate, joy, sadness - it's all in there. An amazing thing happens when you love hard and paint hard. You become one with the work. The mind can make paint do things, anything - make it behave in ways it shouldn't. The act of painting becomes spiritual. Once this happens, anything is possible." Drew Ernst (b. 1979, Mt. Vernon OH)
"Art is not a conceptual exercise. It is not a form of therapy or entertainment. Art is a personal practice, like meditation. Art allows the artist the opportunity to awaken into deeper levels of reality. In the best cases, it also allows the artist the opportunity to assist the viewer in the process of "waking up." There are many ways to awaken the viewer, gently nudging them or walloping them over the head. A great artist assists us in seeing the world differently. No style is necessarily superior to another, all forms are valid, what matters is whether or not the artist is being true to their temperament and experience. I feel that Drew Ernst is solidly himself. He is gifted and devoted to his art. He is smart and curious. He is a serious student of life.
-Bo Bartlett, artist
Opening night visitors at "Drew Ernst's "Connected" Solo Exhibiton at the Zenith Gallery, 413 7th Street NW, Washington, DC
For infromation call 202.783.2963