Purdy Eaton’s oeuvre comprises paintings, photography, video and installation work. Eaton grew up in rural Indiana and often her departure point is the ever-changing American landscape and our relationship with its physical and virtual environs.
Eaton’s photographic work is defined by a minimal aesthetic that weaves visual sensitivity around a narrative of pastoral landscape rudely interrupted by architectural conceits. Her monolithic scaled photos employ a concentrated language of form, space and volume.
In American Habitat 3 the refined and elegantly spare compositional structure share a formal and conceptual affinity with the minimal practice of de Stijl artists and the architectural language of Luis Barragán.
Often Eaton intersperses humorous clues to explain a narrative in which the human subject is largely implied. In American Habitat 5 a cow stares forlornly at the viewer – her body tattooed in Hindu symbols which imply the sacredness of her meat underlines the absurdity of our reliance of corn-fed bovines and the resulting necessity of clean energy.
Urban sprawl and the loss of nature through overdevelopment are explored in smaller scaled works like Last House On Fucker’s Lane and 4Eva. Here the artist finds moral authority by drawing the viewer into a mise-en-scѐne of destruction in the name of progress.
Simultaneously Eaton is not afraid of beauty. The monolithic triptych Stand Still Like The Hummingbird underlies fragmented images of leaves in blurry abstractions with the quivering sensation of a hummingbird suspended in flight.
“…when you are convinced that all the exits are blocked, either you take to believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird. The miracle is that the honey is always there, right under your nose, only you were too busy searching elsewhere to realize it. The worst is not death, but being blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of the miraculous.”
Henry Miller, “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird,” 1962
Purdy Eaton’s immersive images engage viewers in a reflection about the changing landscape and rapid development through the prism of photography. She is an artist-archivist attempting to contribute to the cataloguing of history through highlighting our inseparable ties with nature in a technologically saturated world.
The artist’s work has been shown at Arlington Centre for the Arts, Massachusetts; Stamford Art Association, Connecticut; Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, Indiana; Institute for Sustainable Cities, City University of New York, Governors Island; Hudson Valley Centre for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New York, as well as many invitational exhibitions in New York. She received an Artist’s Grant, Vermont Studio Centre in Johnson and Green People’s Choice Award, City University of New York; her work is included in the collection of 21C Museum, Louisville, Kentucky.
She received an M.F.A. from Hunter College, City University of New York; an M.P.H. from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut and a B.S. from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her studies include an Overseas Study Program, University of Kent Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom.
Purdy Eaton lives and works in New York City.