Eric Aho is an American painter known for his immersive paintings of the natural world. With color and form that bridges the way we experience nature in totality, Aho’s canvases at every scale, occupy a zone of perception between sober realism and ecstatic abstraction. While Aho works from his own impressions and memories of the landscape, the artist also draws upon major pillars of art history—including De Kooning, Goya, Homer, and Constable—to define his compositions. He’s been called “One of the leading painters of landscape and the environment of his generation.”
These are physical works, through which Aho reconnects to the landscape as it reforms on the canvas. The artist explains: “I’m physical with the paint. Always have been. I push it around; I handle it. There remains something necessary and insistent about expressing the muscularity of the paint, that curiously, isn’t about strength or the heroic. It’s more awkward and protean than that, unguarded, even vulnerable. One can’t help but see the fragility of the landscape on close reading of its spaces and forms while wrestling them into place on the canvas. Although this space is invisible, it oddly registers as familiar—imbued with human-like physical qualities. After all, seeing humanizes the landscape. Looking closely humanizes everything.”
Aho studied at the Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London, England and received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. In 1989, he participated in the first exchange of scholars in over thirty years between the U.S. and Cuba. He completed his graduate work at the Lahti Art Institute in Finland supported by a Fulbright Fellowship in 1991-92 and an American-Scandinavian Foundation grant in 1993.
His works have been exhibited and collected widely in the United States and abroad and can be found in the permanent collections of the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH; Denver Art Museum, CO; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY Purchase; New Britain Museum of American Art, CT; and the Oulu Museum of Art, Finland among others.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Eric Aho: An Unfinished Point in a Vast Surrounding at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut (2016); Eric Aho: Ice Cuts at the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, New Hampshire (2016); Eric Aho: In the Landscape at the Federal Reserve Board, Washington, D.C. (2013); and Transcending Nature: Paintings by Eric Aho at the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire (2012). Other exhibitions have taken place at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, New Hampshire; Portland Art Museum, Maine; Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Maine; National Academy, New York; and American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York. Aho’s paintings have been shown internationally in Ireland, South Africa, Cuba, Norway, Finland, and Japan.
Eric Aho was elected National Academician of the National Academy Museum in 2009. He lives and works in Saxtons River, Vermont.
The "Ice Cut" series takes avantos as their subject matter. An avanto is a traditional Finnish hole cut into the surface of a frozen lake, through which one is meant to plunge after the intense heat of a sauna. The artist himself has been cutting avantos and then painting their dark recesses and uneven, iridescent contours each winter for the past decade.
Exhibition Walk-through of "Eric Aho: Wilderness Studio"
November 14, 2015