Eric Ernst was born in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1956 into a family of notable import within the art world. A graduate of George Washington University with a B.A. in Japanese Studies, he lived in Japan working as an apprentice to a Japanese woodblock artist, studied Zen meditation, and gained some measure of notoriety as a disc jockey at a Tokyo radio station under the pseudonym of “Reckless Eric, The Mad Artist of the Airwaves”. More importantly, his life and studies there were to imbue his work with varied elements of Japanese and Asian aesthetics in terms of coloration and concepts of rhythm and asymmetry in design.
Further incorporating aspects highlighting the geometric purity of the Russian avant-garde and the later Bauhaus artists, he was also influenced by his Abstract Expressionist father, Jimmy Ernst’s, approach to crisp, linear compositional structure. In addition, the works are also inspired by aspects of harmony and movement drawn from disparate musical sources such as Thelonious Monk, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Igor Stravinsky, and Frank Zappa.
Usually structurally arranging the works to be viewed as small scale architectonic spaces, Ernst recently has also, in some works, begun incorporating elements of representational imagery into his constructions thereby perhaps showing the subtle impact of his surrealist grandfather, Max Ernst. These serve to create an interaction of forms, shapes, and colors that, mixed with musical and harmonic elements, conjure a more immediate narrative and strive to transcend the limits of pure geometric abstraction.