3/05/10 5:24 PM
Pencil boats and wordy galleons, miniature Kiss frontmen and sly red foxes, Technicolor sages and fierce dragons — Joshua Ehlerding treats them all with deft precision and unexpected wit. The precision comes as no surprise, given Ehlerding’s diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition which lends itself mightily to the kind of attention to detail that makes the hairs on a fox stand out in all their softness and multiplicity. The wit, however, is something else entirely, and finds its most compelling expression in two boat pictures that take a twist on practices of drawing and writing. A colored pencil drawing of a Chinese junk takes its medium literally, imagining a boat and the sea on which it floats not just drawn with but literally made out of pencils. A pendant image of another grand ship constructs it and its ocean out of words, building everything from waves to sails out of the language which describes them. These and other works are primarily the result of assignments, and kudos to Ehlerding for responding to them with such verve. Best of all will be when he goes beyond these constraints and finds his own subject matter — keeping the detail and wit of an already blooming style.