Creative writing on Ty Ennis' solo exhibition, "The Marble Fountain"

Fountain of Time by Jess Mcfadden

  Summer Candle (Méaudre) , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

Summer Candle (Méaudre), 2018, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

A painter sits at his desk, quietly gazing into a candle's flame. Between working full-time and raising a daughter, it's rare to arrive at such a moment of solitude. Memories come back, from his younger days in a small town. He remembers mischievous schoolboys, pressuring him to be more masculine. He remembers a monologue in someone's living room. A face... an expression... The memories are not formatted; some of them are missing pieces. Faces fade into one another. Occasionally the straight vertical line of a nose will almost return the artist to his seat at the desk, in front of that long, straight candle. Time continues to pass.

  Shadow People , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

Shadow People, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

With his current show at Nationale, The Marble Fountain, Ty Ennis invites viewers into formative memories and dreams. Many of his paintings contain a quiet sense of horror, amplified by a lack of color.

  Netta Fornario , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 12 inches

Netta Fornario, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 12 inches

Above any one narrative, they express something specific to paint: the way textures communicate on a flat canvas. From aggressive and thick to diluted and watery, Ennis explores the possibilities of combination freely. A fuzzy quality unites the medium with its content. In Orlando, the largest painting on display, an androgynous bride gazes out, far into the distance.

  Orlando , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

Orlando, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

Around the back corner of the gallery, one scene is repeated in two paintings: a mysterious observation of two doorways. Depending where you stand, both of these grayscale paintings are visible at the same time. Cinema No. 2 hangs on a wall directly behind Cinema (Paris) with slightly less contrast, feeling like a ghost of the original memory. 

Although this body of work is extremely personal, it isn't narcissistic. Instead, Ennis encourages viewers to enter into his memories, as themselves, to form their own interpretations, and remember their own stories. With these works, he seems to have relinquished personal ego in favor of a common experience.