Artist Statements

Archival inkjet prints on Photo Tex adhered to gallery walls
Marginal Utility, Philadelphia, PA, June 3 - July 29, 2011 
Forty years in the making, Eric McDade’s newest solo exhibition at Marginal Utility
 seems at first glance to be a collection of work based on misunderstandings and/or hamhanded
attempts at correcting them, as perpetrated by the misunderstood.
But it is so much less than that.
Here we see McDade sobbing into the sleeve of his black hoodie about being a poor,
misunderstood sap, and trying to pass off the resulting snot-stain Rorschachs as visual
work that might hold the viewer’s interest for longer than it takes to ignore a pamphlet
distributor on the sidewalk.
His gimmick this time? Photography. Too terrified of failure to draw or paint, McDade
plays the role of director in order to churn out seven pieces that do little more than boast a
sense of spare theatricality while begging for bits of audience commiseration, like a
panhandler trying to earn money for a bus ride back to New Jersey.
The show opens June 3rd, from 6:00pm to 11:00pm, and runs through July 29th, 2011.
Bring something to read.


From the two-person exhibition, "A Quiet Forest"

shared with Ju Young Ban at HPGRP Gallery

New York, NY

12/19/08- 01/24/09


I am slapping at the flames with lifeless hands. Hands which, until very recently, had lain for years in my lap like injured doves. This fire consumes all thoughts. People asking me what the fire feels like receive little more information than silent, tiny gusts of wind put forth from my lame hands flailing past their ears. An exceptionally insightful moment – rare and accidental, at best – might provide one with a slight graze from a chewed and ragged bit of cuticle, or perhaps even something as solid as a knuckle. But words are another matter. I can provide nothing verbally useful on the topic of how things are going, or what will be done about them. Not for some time. Not until this whole matter has been burned to smoldering little coals. Until then I mumble and smile weakly through the smoke and record the arcs and jagged vectors cut through the flames by my cold, flapping hands, hoping they will eventually spell something intelligible.


An interior mural-in-the-round / installation with removable paintings.
Acrylic housepaint, paint marker, sugar paste, Sintra, lollipops, cupcake wrappers, and string.
Basekamp, Philadelphia, PA 2006

The sidewalks are full of love's lonely children: "More of the Same" by Eric McDade.
Back to dish out more finger-pointing and blame-shifting, Eric McDade turns his creative attention to the same fodder that's gotten him nowhere fast: relationships. Only this time, it's not a survey of individualized confessions and condemnations he's offering up like so many plates of ambrosia at a family picnic. Using the metaphor of children overindulging on sweets, this new mural-in-the-round conveys a narrative that explores the cyclical nature of past relationships, from first encounter to licking one's wounds.
In the landscape ruled, or at least inhabited by children, a sugar overdose is marked by insomnia, exhaustion, red eyes and crying jags. In search of respite, the children are led to a cottage in the woods with promises of wish fulfillment. But instead, they unwittingly become key ingredients in their host's enterprise. After which, they're turned loose to sleepwalk their way through the evening landscape, which is littered with dangers both natural and man-made. Eventually, as in the aftermath of a relationship, everyone finds their way back to home base relatively safely, if a bit damaged and dazed, and maybe even looking forward to their next helping of sweets.
While McDade may not be reading us direct passages from his padlocked diary anymore, he's definitely staying true to form by maintaining his nearly-formulaic "innocents in peril" approach to weaseling out of accepting responsibility for his past faults and mistakes. "Love is a trap" seems to be the mantra here, and it is repeated not so much to reach Nirvana, but just to get back to normal with as much of ourselves still intact as we can manage.

HPGRP Gallery, New York, NY 2008
University of Delaware Gallery, Newark, DE 2006
Giving in to the fear that a secure, healthy relationship coule mean certain death for someone whose bread and butter are the dregs of interpersonal experiences, Eric McDade risks stunting his evolutionary growth and continues to drink from the same old stagnant well of self-pity-tainted social malignancies in order to bring forth his most recent suite. The resulting body of work is, again, one that begs from the viewer as much sympathy and praise as can be neatly separated from the lint in one's pockets. A couple of pieces not withstanding, the primary theme is one of discontent with the behavior of those around him, as is with most of McDade's past work. Nothing to see here. Move along, folks...  
Oulous Repair Shop, Los Angeles, CA 2004
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA 2003

Using a combination of original and appropriated images from textbooks, instruction manuals and children’s books, Eric McDade creates tragicomic, black and white images that are petty, whiney and one-sided. Every once in a while, though, he manages to eke out a piece of work that doesn’t beg the audience for a pity handjob, and this is when his work soars to mediocrity.

Eric McDade’s exhibition, "More Exercises in Self-Pity" at Oulous Repair Shop will mark his solo debut in Los Angeles. Coming from the Philadelphia Art Alliance in McDade’s hometown, the exhibit is not so much traveling, as it is being driven out of town with pitchforks and torches.

Eric McDade has exhibited in museums and galleries in both the U.S. and Europe, lowering the bar time and time again.


Eating Bonbons and Crying Over Radio Songs: More Whining From the King of Crybaby Complaint-Art.

These new works by Eric McDade are a testament to the ability to repeatedly cannibalize one’s own rotten experiences for the sake of art. Bad situation afoot? Most would run the other way, but not this martyr. Seeing the possibility for a fresh, new series, our hero jumps deeper into the shit in search of the next line on his artistic resume. No matter how uncomfortable any given moment might grow, he is calmed knowing that the truth can be twisted to suit his need and turned into opus after opus, allowing the viewer to breathe just a sip of his troubles. Culling images from sources as disparate as Rubens and Disneyland, Eric McDade has created a suite of work that both questions and gives a nod to the one-sided nature of the singer/songwriter genre.