Dennis Ekstedt: Delirium

Text by Michael Rattray

The recent works of Dennis Ekstedt explode over the tableau. The immersive black backgrounds entail a reasoning that we are somehow contained within an ever widening darkness, expanding our knowledge as sights of illuminated referents swirling in a myriad of configurations. From a proximity of distance to the up-front spectacle, our isolation is personified through individual points that amalgamate to larger entities and celestial bodies, posing questions of our place in a sublime method of abstraction.

Each work seems to pierce through its very flatness, defining a narrative line of passage, but convoluted through a multi-level system of engagement. It appears as through, as a viewer, that the correlation of the galaxy and the cityscape present questions of space and distance that can remind ourselves of the wonder that can be found through painting. For myself, upon viewing I am transported somewhere between my first memories of turning pages dedicated to renditions of the heavens -where the impossibility of the sheer size of a galaxy was ciphered through the accessibility of the book- and the first time I can remember flying, where the world was quickly, and unexpectedly, transformed before my eyes into a sea of configurations and possibility. In short, these paintings provoke a sense of child-like fascination and wonder within my mind, which is something that should never be forgotten within the quickness at which our world operates. There is comfort in the realization that you are one but many, and that your individual perspective operates as a singular ray of light contributing to a larger whole.

These works remind of the all-over abstract work of the late Gershon Iskowitz; except it appears a deepening complexity to the system of painting has been applied here. The works move from a galaxy like stasis, to the consuming moment where the sheer volume of life has over-exposed the vision of the agent. In works such as Progression 3 and Sprawl 17, filters of atmospheric haze, akin to a pollutant, blurs a clear vision and implies a passing from one painting to another. It is as if the viewer is traveling towards a bright distant offering, but at each instance where the world appears to open up before our eyes, a new system appears to readily distort our complacency, reminding of the importance to remain questioning of those spaces that enchant us, haunt us, and remind of our luminary presence within a potentially infinite black.