drywall, joint compound, paint
48" x 48"
(b. 1992 – Kent, OH) Using thrown away scraps of construction materials and machine-made synthetic products, Eli Gfell creates sculptural drawings that look critically at the use and overuse of materials by mass consumer culture. Working in materials like plywood or drywall, Gfell’s constructions are not always what they first seem. For instance, tape stretched across building fragments appears at first to have some role in the piece’s structural integrity. But a closer look reveals a clever trompe l'œil—the “tape,” in reality, is shrewdly applied paint and joint compound. Gfell explains that his goal is to “reveal how a throw-away society is built, using what it has thrown away to do so.”
In murk, Gfell uses his trademark visual trickery to distort our perception of the depth of this statuesque wall fragment. Careful texture and pigmentation applied to the substrate is complimented and contradicted by whatever light source lands on the surface, creating visual confusion around where the angles begin and end. Like a Modernist painting, the viewer—depending on their own viewing orientation—experiences mixed signals about what is convex and concave.
Gfell received a BFA in Painting and Sculpture from Kent State University. He was included in the Sculpture Center’s Emerging Artist Series (Cleveland, OH, 2018) and has exhibited work in a number of other galleries, including Forum Art Space, Cleveland, OH, Bone Black Gallery, Austin TX, and 425 Gallery, Kent, OH. Gfell runs H Space, an independent studio and exhibition space in the Cudell neighborhood.