Alfred Eaker Artist Statement

I am a prolific painter who exclusively works in oils. I rarely look back at previous works and so can only express where I am at now. My work is organic, spiritual and reflects my own, idiosyncratic brand of blue collar, Catholic surrealism. I am currently working on a series of paintings entitled "Stations." This continuing body of work will span fifteen canvases and I am currently on the sixth. These canvases, 5 ft x 5 ft, are homage to Fr. Justin Belitz, O.F.M who has been a mentor, friend and teacher to me for twenty years. "Stations" are not merely the traditional Stations of the Cross but are also an ambiguous journey of color, form, space, movement, energy, and emotional intensity. These were inspired by Fr. Belitz's inter-faith teachings, the writings of Meister Eckhart, Thomas Merton, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Gustav Mahler, and Luigi Nono.

Although I have absorbed much in the way of influences, I have discovered and identified an increasingly narrow identification line throughout the evolution of my work. This identification is not relegated to painters and filmmakers, but also includes mystics, theologians, composers, and peers. At a lecture, the composer Pierre Boulez said, "We must be cultural omnivores and raid all the art forms to enhance our own work." This is a statement I increasingly find myself adhering to. In addition to intensely abstracted, expressionist imagery, I have explored Marian imagery in many works. For me the image is symbolic of the matriarchal spiritual movement, which strongly characterizes my theology. Our Lady is a sublime, mysterious, Tahitian pearl, she is a diaphanous adagio, and a startling rose which bursts through the practicality of our senses. I am also a performance artist and created a character, in the 80's (during art school), which I named BlueMahler.  Although I rarely do live performance art anymore, the BlueMahler character, not surprisingly became a focus in several of my works in film. Much more surprisingly, BlueMahler became a focus of subject in a number of recent works on canvas.

Among my interests are: Art deco, art nouveau, silent film (it really was a different art form), surrealism (especially unintentional surrealism), the 1920s and 30s, performance art, 20th century avant garde opera, free jazz, fusion, expressionism, dadaism, surrealism, provocative art, theatre of the absurd, theatre of cruelty, glam rock, pop art, Tristan Tzara, Cabaret Voltaire, Hugo Ball, Leonora Carrington, gemstones, coffee, avocado, horseback riding, swimming, 20th century operas "Wozzeck" & "LuLu" (Berg), "Moses un Aron" (Schoenberg), "The Greek Passion" (Martinu), "Perela, Uomo di Fumo" (Dusapin), "Al gran sole carico d'amore"  & "Prometeo" (Nono), "Un re in ascolto" (Berio), "The Mask of Orpheus" (Birtwistle), "Satyricon" (Maderna), "Atlas" (Monk), "Where the Wild Things are" (Knussen), "Pelleas et Melisande" (Debussy), opera directors such as Olivier Py, Patrice Chereau, Harry Kupfer, Julie Taymor, and Doris Dorrie, much music in the way of Mahler, Debussy, Beethoven, Berio, Bach, Mozart, Berlioz, Wagner, Lachenmann, Webern, André Souris, Carla Bley, Paul Bley, Varese, Scriabin, Boulez, Sun Ra, Alan Pettersson, Carl Stalling, Harry Partch, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Willem Breuker, Lindberg, Schnittke, George Antheil, Rihm, Elliott Carter, Milton Babbitt, Boulez, Florent Schmitt, Franz Schrecker, Rautavaara, Dutilleux, John Zorn, Joshua Redman, Ute Lemper, Joan La Barbara, Morton Subotnick, Morton Feldman, Xenakis, Lygeti, Lindberg, Saariaho, Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Weather Report, Augusta Read Thomas, Meredith Monk, Jessica Kane, Mike Hovancsek and the Pointless Orchestra, DJ Monkey, Prince, the underrated Dukas & Roussel, the degenerate art of Pavel Haas and Hans Krasa, Les Six, Deems Taylor, Franz Schrecker, William Kraft, Takemitsu, Carl Vine, Cab Calloway, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Gil Melle, Duke Ellington. Julie London's "Lonely Girl" is my candidate for sexiest pop album of all time and Peggy Lee's "Black Coffee" is my candidate for best album from any female jazz/pop vocalist. Just about anything from Diana Dors and Bernadette Peters. Cassandra Wilson, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, the always delightfully evil Eartha Kitt, the pure velvet of Bing Crosby, the fine wine of the great & timeless Sinatra concept albums, and, of course, the quintessential Billie Holiday. David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Prince, Velvet Underground, Yes, Talking Heads, Radiohead, Beck, The Beatles' milestone "Sgt.Pepper" and the Frank Zappa album which mercilessly parodied it, "We're Only in It for the Money," and one hasn't lived the surreal life until you've sampled Captain Beefheart and Jandeck. Dreyer's "Passion of Joan of Arc," which is the greatest film ever made. Chaplin's "The Kid," "Easy Street," and "City Lights," Langdon's Three's a Crowd," "Keaton's "The Playhouse," "Sherlock Jr" and "The Frozen North," Von Stroheim's "Greed," The Marx Brothers, Busby Berkely, 30s musicals, Daina Krumins' "Babobilicons," and "The Divine Miracle," the Spielberg/Kubrick hybrid "A.I.," anything from Guy Maddin, Cronenberg, Louise Brooks, Murnau, John Waters, Charley Bowers, Val Lewton, Matthew Barney, Cocteau, Keaton, Kenneth Anger, Melies, Kubrick, Ken Russell, Tarkovsky, Mizoguchi, Brakhage, Jodorowsky, Steven Dwoskin, Brothers Quay, the sublime, gorgeous chamber westerns of Budd Boetticher & Randolph Scott, experimental French film, German expressionist film, quite a few of the early 20s and 30s westerns, pre-code Hollywood, and some of the more outlandish serials. The writing of Cheryl Townsend, John M. Bennett, Michael Basinski, Jim Leftwich, Fr. Justin Belitz, Kurt Schwitters, Bill Paulauskas, Sheila E. Murphy, Dodie Bellamy, Keith Banner, Jacques Ellul, Philip Lamantia, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart, Teilhard de Chardin  Jim Leftwich, J.S. Murnet, Charles Bernstein, Jessica Freeman, Michael Estabrook, Bill Paulauskas, Robert W. Howington, Hans Kung, Hubert Selby, Antonin Artaud, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet, Joseph Suglia, J. G. Ballard, Kevin L. Donihe, Albert Camus, Ivan Arguelles, Harold Pinter, John Osborne, Dorothy Parker. Of course, Joyce, Kafka, Baudelaire, Marquis de Sade and Poe are still essential. I cannot fathom life without the beauty of James Agee, Thomas Merton and Flannery O' Connor.

Alfred Eaker Index