Palimpsest of Chance and Change: Erik Gelehrter


“NATURE ACCUMULATES, from our genome to the millennia of layers in the ground beneath us. But nature also erodes, revealing concealed structures and surfaces. Nature decays, old life taking new forms. Emergent patterns arise from such complexity, and our minds find beauty in these.”

Eric Gelehrter’s artistic process is a dialogue of chance and choice, as he seeks to evoke subtle resonances in composition, texture and form, incorporating found objects and their fields of associations to create a cohesive whole.

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“Coins from nations that have passed into history, ancient chains, unhewn wood, mechanical components outside of the mechanical context, salt, glyphic line drawings; all fused onto 24” metal tiles with layers and layers of polymer. Liquid Plastic, a ubiquitous, pervasive material of our age; The Anthropocene. This is our geologic layer, our strata.”


Although these pieces speak to universal themes such as entropy, the passage of time, and natural processes, the work is also very much rooted in Chicago.  These works all began with a $0 budget, found materials, found colors, flotsam, discards, scraps, salvage, treasures.  “Accreted over years by a collective of bohemians, over there due West on North Avenue, part of an endophytic subculture that still pervades the visible, prevalent, omnipresent cultural and political landscape of our time.”

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Eric doesn’t see this work as part of a larger art movement or scene:

“I’m reluctant to attempt to name this aesthetic. Elusiveness itself is a fascination of nature, and we benefit from its contemplation.”

Eric Gelehrter’s Palimpsest of Chance and Choice is on view now at the Flatiron Arts Building through the end of the year. The artist will be present November 2nd and December 7th from 7pm to Midnight. 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave, Third Floor rear.

Still on view on the third floor of the Flatiron: Yva Neal’s MOSSome Gift and Jeremiah Read’s The Abstract Machinist. 

Dry – Erase Globe

THIS SUMMER, I teamed up with my collaborator Kevin O’Neill to bring to life an interactive sculpture that had lived in a sketchbook of mine since 2010 – a giant dry-erase surface in the form of a 300 lb rotating globe.


Participants use magnetic dry-erase markers to draw in new nations, mountain ranges, and fantasy oceans. Suitable for “cartographers of the imagination” of all ages! In fact, people of almost any height can take part simultaneously, as the 36” diameter world illustrates the fact that there really is plenty of room for everyone on this sphere! 

We enlisted the help of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce to fund the project and Nick Berg at Ojo Customs headed up the steel fabrication. Check our their projects at This is the same shop that recently created the political sculpture Metro Gun Share Program: 


I was inspired by the beautiful metallic seafoam-green of the Ellis bandsaw in Nick’s shop to give the project a vintage hammered aqua color palette.

We debuted the sculpture at Wicker Park Fest, and for the entire three-day street fest people flocked to the globe, drawing, writing, and doodling. Every hour, we’d dutifully wash down the orb and give the crowd a blank canvas again.


We even made a mini-globe for the dogs:


At night, the installation comes to life with LED lighting and can also become a dynamic projection-mapping surface! 

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Dry Erase Globe is available for rental! As a bonus, we’ll create a “world map” photo-stitch of your guests’ well-wishes, doodles and jokes! email for more info about event rentals.