Gareth Ernst’s work focuses on the intimate and fleeting, on mortality, desire, surveillance, and masculinity. Like the writings of Jean Genet, Gareth Ernst’s paintings, drawings and videos are illicit love letters. They deal with the secret and the underground, touching on the pornographic and the criminal. They are rapid, urgent and complete, revealing secret Worlds parallel to our own.
His studies of the human form are uncompromising and direct. Gareth’s work disrupts the tradition of idealising the male form, and instead uses it as a vehicle for exploring the themes of power, vulnerability and innocence. He often achieves this through unorthodox pop culture inclusions and juxtapositions with medieval memento mori symbols—Darth Vader masks, leaked police surveillance videos, stuffed Pokémon dolls and even nibbling mice dress his works. For his audience, these juxtapositions are destabilising and contradictory, creating tension with the erotic charge of the subject’s exposure.
Gareth completed his Masters in Fine Arts at the National Art School, Sydney Australia.
Queer Nu Werk: Werk Harder 2021
Gareth Ernst presented a specially-commissioned live drawing performance throughout the duration of Queer Nu Werk. Inferno recreates a Boticelli drawing of Dante's infamous Inferno through a tableau of live bodies and Ernst's renowned skill in live drawing performance. Unfolding throughout the night at Universal, Inferno will also be broadcast digitally for anyone to tune in to from home.