Detour: Color Commentator Michael Gill on Artist T.R. Ericsson #3   05.14.10


His first days after the assignment were attended by the same kind of anxiety that for him attends any exhibit, whether it be a tiny part in a group show, or a big solo show. The first task was to figure out his attitude toward the obstacle: whether meaning would be derived from simply spending the time with his wife and daughter, and whether that could be reconciled with his urge to make something or to be considerate of the viewer.

Charged simply with living a meaningful life, he says the irony became that I really did end up spending the last few days intensely and aggressively chewing on a problem. I certainly went all over the place the past few days, he said.

This involved reading, especially re-visiting books held dear, their pages marked by dog eared corners.

Through that process he settled on the idea of presenting a text that would impart meaning. The idea is not dissimilar to some of Ericssons past works, including a piece called Thanksgiving"a black granite slab, etched with the word-for-word transcription of a letter his mother had written him in 1993, describing a family thanksgiving dinner held in his absence, after he had moved to New York. Thanksgiving was exhibited at the Cleveland Sculpture Center in 2008.

I wanted it to fit with the other work I am doing, Ericsson said. The question of branding and having a recognizable identity is really important in our culture.

In choosing to represent his week of living a meaningful life via an object, hes able to both offer meaning, and satisfy his urge to give viewers something to look at. He raises a follow-up set of questions: Can an artist be satisfied with the meaning inherent in his life without making art? Or is the manufactured object the manifestation of that meaning?

Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: General


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