Over the past five years, much more than time has passed between my business partner, Eric Brooks, and me. Not only have I had the pleasure of building a beautiful friendship and business with him, I’ve watched him become the consummate, community collaborator. And now I get to watch him grow as an artist. I’ve attended all of his receptions and probably have been one of the biggest critics of his art. And now he’s got a new body of work that on exhibit at Beckwith Gallery, which is titled “Something More Than Time Has Passed Here.”

Before the hubbub at his opening reception, I got a sneak preview of some of his abstract paintings. Eric refers to his technique as éclabousser, a French term meaning to splatter or splash. I’m not really certain that term fits these orderly, compartmentalized expressions. But the term he uses to describe these colorful paintings does fit – geometrical landscape abstractions. He wants you to imagine you’re in the window seat in an airplane, looking down at the calculated patterns of the landscape, be it an urban or rural environment. (I must say I’ve always been intrigued by those designs when flying.) Eric says those mile-high landscape patterns are a metaphor for how we live our lives. And they definitely are indicative of the way he’s lived – up to now.

Eric moved to Reno in December 2012 from Edinburgh, Scotland, where he helped manage an arts collective called The Forest Cafe. After years of moving around, he had decided that Reno was where he was going to put down roots. Much like his artwork, he was in search of structure.

“I’m not saying I was structured,” he said. “I needed to get drunk, smoke a pack of cigarettes, and listen to shitty, depressing music. I was looking for nourishment in lots of other places.”

His 2016 show at NeverEnder Gallery called “I Used To Be In Love, Now I Do Jigsaw Puzzles. Let’s Just Fuck,” with its chaotic patterns and blurred lines, reflected that.

But the 30 pieces in this show, which range from 6”x6” to 72”x48”, are cleaner with deliberate lines. He’s taking his time as he applies those layers of acrylic paint against the grain, while blending in oil and solvents.

“They create a sentimental attachment and have the power to tell a story and bring life to wherever they hang,” he said.

And what a storyteller he is.

To accompany his urbanscapes, he wrote a limited-edition story: “The darkness holds you like canyons falling to light – A cowboy, noir, love story.”

“Once the series has been named, I spend time with each piece after it’s completion, to find a hidden structure,” Eric said. “It can be a flurry of lines showing under bright light, or the slightest blur forming a familiar face or shadow. From there, I fabricate a story within the story to give an external framework to the viewer.”

The story within these pieces is strong and I look forward to seeing what this dark cowboy does next.

His paintings will be up at least through July. To spend time with his work, grasp his story, and hopefully purchase a piece for your collection, gallery owner Anicia Beckwith said all you have to do is call to make an appointment (775-432-1172). She’ll have the champagne chilled and ready to pour.

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator