"Ethan Gartons’s highly wrought works on paper address segments of humanity in opposition to itself. While his worldview is that of a defiant outsider, his works —however bittersweet— are nonetheless compelling because of their outrĂ© sensibilities. His exacting markings with barely perceptible lines combined with delicate coloring with all sorts of organic pigments make for compellingly memorable images. Looking deeper, we sense that Paradise is lost. While his Candy Land palette leads us to feel that those whom he depicts are in states of pleasure, they are instead manifestations of psychological nightmares amidst a world of horror, one that Garton suggests is beyond repair. In this sense, he updates the abattoirs of Bosch, Callot, Goya, and Grosz and if there is any way towards salvation, it would be to withdraw completely to a state of being that Thoreau would have averred we take. Labeling Garton an outsider artist would not be far from the mark because the visual world he constructs is entirely his own and relatively untethered —save perhaps to that of surrealism— in which the world of the dream dominates. These are his internal visions, not ours. They are here to witness and behold in all their confounding originality."

~Timothy J. Standring
Gates Foundation Curator of Painting & Sculpture

Society, oil on paper, 8 1/2 x 11 inches, 2011