Detour: Color Commentator Michael Gill on Artist T.R. Ericsson #4   05.14.10


He took inspiration from the Swiss-German artist Dieter Roth, Roth, who's best known for his "biodegradable" works made of food, but who also made artist books and was a master print maker. In the early seventies, Roth paid for a series of ads in the Swiss newspaper Luzerner Stadtanzeige. The ads were short aphorisms, little whispers of meaning all but lost amid the shouting clutter of commercial advertisements and editorial copy.
Rather than a little whisper, though, Ericsson chose to make it a shout""simple, Times New Roman lettering cut from vinyl, but measuring three feet tall and nearly 27 feet in length, dominating a wall of the main gallery.

"It will be a pretty impactful work that relates to feelings I had at the meeting," Ericsson said. "I was really struck by the power of large scale letters on the wall."

The phrase he chose: "The sea is a tear."

That resonated in a personal way because there is some ambiguity there. It's also about the value of an individual: the sea being a large group of people, a tear being an individual. The question of living a meaningful life sets you asking about who you are."

"Something I like is asserting the primacy of the individual," Ericsson continued. "People tend to think backward, not valuing the individual but the universal.
If you are an artist making some kind of public communication""if you haven't done the work to know who you really are as an individual, then what do you have to offer other people? Being true to oneself is the most important part of living a meaningful life."

Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: General


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