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The Reel Mccoy by Zoe Cormier
November 23, 2011
November 30, 2010 - September 30, 2011
117 NE 2nd Street
Fort Lauderdale · FL 33301
Étant donnés 2°
January 12 - February 25, 2011
Francis M. Naumann Fine Art is pleased to present “Étant donnés 2°,” a new series by artist T. R. Ericsson, who maintains studios in Concord Township, Ohio, and Brooklyn, New York. As the title suggests, the work is based on Marcel Duchamp’s great environmental tableau installed in the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Étant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau / 2° le gaz d’éclairage [Given: 1° The Waterfall / 2° the illuminating gas], 1946-66.
Ericsson’s imagery shares a great deal in common with the work of Duchamp. Many have interpreted Duchamp’s Étant donnés as representing the scene of a rape or murder, a gruesome though somewhat logical interpretation, for the woman in the diorama lies naked and appears lifeless in an outdoor setting. This was not Duchamp’s intent, any more than it was Ericsson’s. Indeed, both artists attempted to record precisely the opposite impression: Duchamp wanted to preserve the image and physical allure of his lover at the time, an exotic Brazilian sculptor whom he had recently met and fallen in love with, while Ericsson records the body of his wife, to whom he is intimately devoted (and her affection for him is reciprocated by her willingness to participate in this collaboration). Just as Duchamp’s readymades force viewers to see ordinary objects differently—indeed, as the opposite of what they might originally appear (not ordinary objects that can be used and are fairly inexpensive, but objects that can no longer be used because they are works and, as such, are very valuable)—the Étant donnés is not the residue of a rape, but precisely the opposite: an act of love.
Ericsson’s affection for his wife is mirrored by the elaborate procedure and care that goes into the making of each image. They are based on hundreds of photographs that he took of her unclothed body lying in a forest setting, often near a stream or partially submerged in it, her head and facial features—as in Duchamp’s Étant Donnés—never clearly visible (a privately printed book features some 300 of these images and serves as the show’s catalogue). For the present exhibition, 10 of these images were selected and enlarged as silkscreens. The screen is hinged onto a piece of paper that rests on the floor (the whole held into position by cement blocks), and then powdered graphite is forced through the screen as stringently as possible (so that it will adhere to the surface of the paper). The surface is then reworked from top to bottom with stumping, erasing and vacuuming until he achieves exactly the effect he desires. Although the photograph and silkscreen were essential in creating the image, because of this elaborate final step, the images are produced in only singular examples. Since the images are unique and the process replicates techniques of draftsmanship, the works are more accurately referred to as drawings.
Ericsson showed examples of these drawings for the first time in 2010 at Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art in Cleveland. The works shown in the present exhibition are envisioned as a complete installation, including, among other things, his wife’s breath entrapped in a glass vial on display in the center gallery—similar to Duchamp’s Air de Paris (1919). Because these works evolve from those shown earlier, Ericsson has entitled the show Étant donnés 2.°
Francis M. Naumann Fine Art
24 West 57th Street, Suite 305
New York, NY 10019
By Walter Robinson
Francis M. Naumann Fine Art Booth B04
Art Basel Miami Beach , December 2-5, 2010
T. R. Ericsson
September 17th – November 12th, 2010
Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art
740 West Superior Avenue, Suite 101
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
SHAHEEN is delighted to present Etant Donnes, an exhibition of new work by T. R. Ericsson. The exhibition is Ericsson's second at the gallery, and features a cycle of eight mid-large scale powdered graphite drawings. Bearing the same title as Marcel Duchamp's late masterpiece, Ericsson's Etant Donnes series finds the artist delving ever deeper into the biographical and autobiographical themes that have dominated his work of the past five years. Comprised of a group of images of an unclothed female figure in a sequence of forested settings, Etant Donnes could be construed as the female or "Echo" counterpart to Ericsson's Narcissus series, a group of thirteen powdered graphite drawings that were exhibited at SHAHEEN in 2008, which featured the artist traversing a similar series of wooded landscapes. Although Ericsson has laced Etant Donnes with a number of potential references, this body of work resists easy interpretation, instead leaving itself open to an expansive and eclectic array of readings, and evoking a broad spectrum of cerebral and emotional responses. The eight drawings that make up the exhibition derive from a much larger group of photographic images that Ericsson has published as an artist book entitled Etant Donnes, which will spawn subsequent drawings.
Just as Etant Donnes finds Ericsson venturing into more brooding emotional and psychological territory, it also finds him pushing his powdered graphite drawings and the distinct, labor intensive process through which he realizes them to new and ambitious levels of scale (the largest drawing measures 96 x 72 inches), and technical complexity and refinement. To produce a drawing, the artist rubs porous bags fashioned from nylon stockings containing powdered graphite through the mesh of a silkscreen, transferring a base image in multiple stages onto the paper. Intermittently, Ericsson removes the screen and reconfigures the loose medium through erasure, stencils, brushwork, stumping and vacuuming to create detail and articulate tonal range. The attempt to control the passage of medium through the screen, coupled with the repeated movement of the screen precipitates chance visual occurrences and enhances the drawing's softly focused appearance. Once complete, the screen is destroyed, leaving behind a single, unique drawing. Ultimately, Ericsson's working process yields rich, velvety surface textures, and exceptionally detailed images that possess material grit and permanence, while simultaneously seeming mirage-like and precariously close to slipping away.
Over the past few years, T.R. Ericsson's work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including: Paul Kasmin Gallery, NY; Heidi Cho Gallery, NY; and the Bronx River Art Center, NY. His work resides in the collections of The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art, Dada Archives, NY; The Pfizer Corporate Collection; The Progressive Art Collection; JP Morgan Chase Collection; and The Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY. Ericsson maintains studios in his native Concord Township, OH and Brooklyn, NY.
Powerful drawings of woman by Ericsson push many buttons
By Steve Litt
The exhibition of large-scale drawings in powdered graphite on paper by T.R. Ericsson at Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art in Cleveland is a whodunit that can't be solved. That's why it's so powerful.
The show consists of eight big images, based on photographs taken by the artist, which depict a nude woman lying on her back as if dead or unconscious, amid sunny forest clearings or shallow pools of water in streams trickling over horizontal layers of shale.
The drawings, produced in a complex process based on silkscreen printing, look as if they've been blown onto the sheets of paper in a single puff.
They push many buttons at once, raising questions about how the mysterious woman (actually the artist's wife, Rose Ericsson) ended up lying nude in such unlikely surroundings. They also give a viewer the uneasy sensation of participating in a voyeuristic experience that's faintly creepy, perhaps even morally suspect.
By partially erasing, rubbing and scuffing the drawings, Ericsson gives them the grainy, scratchy look of a black-and-white home movie left moldering and partially decayed in a closet for decades. In this way, the drawings convey the fuzzy sense of something remembered or perhaps even invented by the imagination.
Ericsson enhances strange effects of light, making his wife's white skin glow so brightly that the contours of her body appear to dissolve magically in a bath of supernatural of light. Or, perhaps, the drawings represent the viewpoint of someone who has suddenly emerged from darkness, blinking in the brilliance of day.
The works brim with historical and cultural references. More than anything, they're a tribute to the famous final work of the Dadaist and conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp, known as "Etant Donnes: 1. La Chute d'Eau, 2. Le Gaz d'Eclairage" or "Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas."
The Duchamp, made from 1946 to 1966, is a sculptural tableau installed permanently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where viewers who look through a peephole in a pair of antique doors find themselves gazing at a sculpture of a nude woman who lies spread-eagled in a field, holding a glowing electric lamp aloft in her raised left hand.
Ericsson draws heavily on the absurd erotic poetry -- and some would say misogyny -- of Duchamp's creation. He also evokes the 19th-century tradition of painting nude women in forest settings, particularly the Realist works of Gustave Courbet.
Ericsson, born in Cleveland in 1972, has fashioned a career that has erased distinctions between being a "local" and a "national" artist. With studios in New York City and Concord Township, he addresses all audiences at once, at a very high level of achievement. The Shaheen exhibition shows why -- and how -- he's been able to supersede the usual artistic categories of Northeast Ohio.
Performance Research A Journal of the Performing Arts,
Volume 15, issue 1, Memento Mori, May, 2010, pgs 81 - 89
On the Performativity of Absence: Death as community
by Natasha Lushetich
Étant donnés 2°
Printed Matter, Inc.
195 Tenth Avenue New York, NY 10011
Recent Acquisitions 2010
April 10 , 2010 – June 12, 2010
2525 Michigan Avenue G4 Santa Monica, CA 90404
Eyelevel Resheving Initiative Four
Red Fox Press (Ireland), Perro Verlag (Mayne Island, BC), Instant Coffee (Toronto), Islands Fold (Victoria), Valerie Salez (Halifax), Anteism Publishing (Victoria), Garity Chapman (Halifax), Andrew McLaren (Halifax), Adam O’Reilly (Halifax), T.R. Ericsson (New York), Stacy Ho (Toronto), and Dustin Wilson (Montreal) and many more.
February 26, 2010 – April 3, 2010
Opening reception: Thursday, February 25th at 7:00pm
2063 Gottingen St. Halifax Nova Scotia B3K 3B2
My Gay Uncle
T.R. ERICSSON, JULIA GOLDMAN, MEGAN MARRIN, SOPHIA PEER, ALLISON SEXTON, GUY RICHARDS-SMIT, LUKE STETTNER, BRYAN ZANISNIK
OPENING FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009
DECEMBER 11, 2009 - JANUARY 16, 2010
My Gay Uncle is a group show of 8 artists centered on the idea of the self-portrait. Each of the artists included in this exhibition make work using themselves and their families as subjects.
Julia Goldman, Guy Richards-Smit and Megan Marrin depict themselves directly in their work. Julia Goldman’s paintings are familiar portraits of herself and personal objects in her studio. Guy Richard-Smit’s portrait paintings and video illustrate a darkly humorous moment of the artist signing away his life in a lawyer’s office. Megan Marrin’s photographic portraits directly reference iconic images, using herself and her body to recreate the original sets. T.R. Ericsson employs drawing, photography and found objects in a new series about his wife referencing Duchamp’s Étant donnés.
Luke Stettner, Sophia Peer, Allison Sexton and Bryan Zanisnik present works using their parents and families. Stettner uses a photograph of Egypt, taken by his father on a family trip, to create a series of photographs and a paper sculpture. Sophia Peer’s sculpture plays a recording of her father’s voice. Allison Sexton’s photographs narrate the past year of her mother’s life through a series of images taken during specific moments in Western Massachusetts. Bryan Zanisnik will exhibit a tableaux vivant using himself and his parents at the opening on December 11th. For the remainder of the show, a photographic book project will be displayed documenting Zanisnik’s relationship to a swampland near his hometown.
Each artist has created new work for this exhibition.
Kate Werble Gallery
83 VANDAM STREET NEW YORK, NY 10013
826 Boston Art Auction
Friday, December 11th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Robert Klein Gallery, 38 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
November 3, 2009 - December 18, 2009
Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art
740 West Superior Avenue, Suite 101Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Iconoclast Editions Booth Z 02
NY Art Book Fair, October 2-4, 2009
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, Queens
36 Hours Cleveland By BRETT SOKOL
September 20, 2009
For decades, the University Circle district has housed many of the city’s cultural jewels, including Severance Hall, the majestic Georgianresidence of the Cleveland Orchestra; the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, one of the country’s best repertory movie theaters; and the lush 285-acre Lake View Cemetery. At the Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Boulevard; 216-421-7340; www.clemusart.com), already famed for its collection of Old Masters and kid-friendly armor, the June opening of the museum’s Rafael Viñoly-designed East Wing puts the spotlight on more modern fare, moving from a roomful of Impressionists dramatically centered around one of Monet’s “Water Lilies” paintings, up to current work. A visually arresting 2008 drawing by Cleveland’s T. R. Ericsson more than holds its own amidst heavyweight contemporary pieces from Anselm Kiefer and Kiki Smith.
Cleveland Museum of Art
Narcissus (Pool), 2008, Powdered graphite on paper, 38 x 50 in.
click here for image
On display in the East Wing June - September, 2009
William Shearburn, Santa Fe NM
May 1 - June 24, 2009
William Shearburn Gallery is pleased to present “On Paper,” a salon-style group exhibition celebrating a full spectrum of unique works on paper, a medium granting both immediacy and intimacy. The famous and the lesser known will be hung cheek to cheek in dialogue. Styles and genres will bend and boundaries blur. Artists in the show include Jean Michel Basquiat, Ross Bleckner, Louise Bourgeois, Ingrid Calame, Will Cotton, Howard Finster, David Kramer, Robert Motherwell, J.B. Murray, Peter Schuyff, James Siena, Philip Taaffe, Richard Tuttle, Jacques Villon, Andy Warhol and Terry Winters. New Mexico based artists include Thomas Ashcraft, Bob Gaylor, Andrew Gellatly, Gloria Graham, Tim Jag, Jennifer Joseph, Toadhouse, and Amy Westphal. For a complete list of artists, see below.
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s crayon drawing from 1982 features an animated skull head, a noose and a hooded figure in anxious configuration. The text in David Kramer’s drawing, on the other hand, proclaims “I want to surround myself with those who make me feel good about my life,” a sentiment undercut by the two golden Miller High Life bottles represented next to the text.
In a more pastoral vein, a lush charcoal and watercolor drawing by Terry Winters casually but masterfully depicts a small branch with its shadow. Ingrid Calame layers color pencil tracings of found marks or stains on mylar to build an evocative abstract landscape. Philip Taaffe mines the flat decorative language of abstracted vegetable life in a tile-like drawing from 1993.
James Siena’s drawing of rectangles nested within rectangles shares an obsessive quality and oddly provokes the feeling of being looked at. T.R. Ericsson conjures ghosts with his image of a typewritten note executed in nicotine smoke.
Jacques Villon’s 1905 pencil portrait of a seated woman in a hat is perhaps the most traditional image of the exhibition, yet by 1913 he would exhibit his cubist drypoints in the historic Armory show in New York. Alex Katz continues this figurative tradition in a stylized pencil portrait of a woman, while Christopher Warrington renders it poignantly absurd with his cartoonish “Fruit Eater,” a hybrid dog-lady figure eating a banana. Robert Medvedz explodes the head, delicately detailing a problematic jumble of organic and inorganic matter, creating a portrait of us as we are now.
Artists in the exhibition include:
Jean Michel Basquiat
Whitney Museum of American Art
Narcissus (Dream Narcissus), 2008, Powdered graphite on paper, 23 15/16 x 17 15/16 in.
click here for image
T. R. Ericsson
November 15th – December 20th, 2008
Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art
740 West Superior Avenue, Suite 101
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art is pleased to announce our debut exhibition of T. R. Ericsson. There is an opening reception Saturday, November 15th from 7–9:00 p.m. The exhibit continues till December 20th.
T. R. Ericsson’s first exhibition at SHAHEEN features a group of twelve drawings delicately rendered in powdered graphite and shot through with the biographical and autobiographical themes that have permeated the artist’s sculpture, drawing, video and installation work of the past ten years. Entitled Narcissus, bearing a loose relationship to the myth of Echo and Narcissus, the cycle of images depict the artist traversing a series of complex wooded landscape settings. To create these elaborate drawings, Ericsson converts high-resolution digital photographs into film positives, which are subsequently burned into silkscreens. He then rubs bags (nylon stockings, actually) containing powdered graphite through the mesh, transferring the image from the silkscreen onto paper. Intermittently, Ericsson removes the screen and reconfigures the loose medium to pull out detail utilizing erasure, stencils, brushwork, stumping and vacuuming. The attempt to control the passage of powder, coupled with the repeated movement of the screen precipitates chance visual occurrences and enhances the drawing’s softly focused appearance. The process yields surface textures that are grainy and velvety, and images that possess material permanence yet seem precariously close to slipping away. While they are derived from Ericsson’s own experiences, the process of their creation and unique materiality enforce the universal range of emotions that the artist seeks to convey.
In addition to Narcissus, a concurrent exhibition of Ericsson’s sculpture is on view at The Sculpture Center from November 7th – December 20th (1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland, OH – 216.229.6527 – sculpturecenter.org). Entitled Thanksgiving, the exhibit features “portraits” of family members made in response to personal loss, and obliquely by association and omissions, of himself.
Ericsson has appeared in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, among them: Paul Kasmin Gallery, NY; Heidi Cho Gallery, NY; Mexico Arte Contemporaneo Art Fair; Toronto International Art Fair; Bronx River Art Center, NY. His work resides in the collections of: Progressive Art Collection, Mayfield, OH; The Cleveland Museum of Art; Pfizer Corporate Collection, NY; Museum of Modern Art, NY; JP Morgan Chase Collection, NY; The Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY. Ericsson maintains studios in his native Concord Township, OH and Brooklyn, NY residences.
T. R. Ericsson
The Sculpture Center
November 7th - December 20th
The Sculpture Center
1834 E. 123rd Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
T. R. Ericsson's is a confessional art, manifested in a rich variety of media and unsparing in its self-examination. Though his work frequently deals with the minutiae of his own life, he touches largely on issues that are common to all, not least love, mortality, and the pursuit of meaning in life. Ericsson's art is one of disclosure, using his life events in works ranging from story telling, drawing, video, installation, photography, book works, and sculpture.
Thanksgiving is an installation by T.R. Ericsson in the Euclid Avenue Gallery, memorializing an individual’s voice in an engraved sheet of absolute black granite. The exhibition is accompanied by the 14th edition of Thirst, Ericsson’s self-published, serial bookwork, and a collection of previous editions, many of which include three dimensional elements.
Thanksgiving is being held concurrently with Narcissus, a complementary exhibition of Ericsson’s recent graphite drawings at SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, located at 740 W. Superior Ave., Suite 101, in downtown Cleveland, opening Nov. 15 and continuing through Dec. 20
Through The Woods
T.R. Ericsson Innovative Works Express A New Style Of Loneliness
By Douglas Max Utter
The artist T. R. Ericsson stands in the woods wearing a dark suit. Each of the 13 graphite-on-paper works in his solo exhibit, Narcissus, now at Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Gallery, shows him in a slightly different position, but always with his head bent, hand to his ear. This gesture would have meant nothing 20 years ago, but now, of course, we recognize at once what's going on: The guy's talking on a cell phone. In his distraction, like Dante in the opening lines of The Inferno or the mythical Narcissus ignoring the nymph Echo, Ericsson appears to have wandered off the path; in several of the pictures, he stands knee-deep in weeds, his shins blocked by fallen branches.
One might think "more gosh-darn irony - post-modern man locked into himself, oblivious and immune to nature, estranged from experience (what a jerk!)." But there's an atmosphere in these "drawings," as Ericsson calls them, an air of romance and elegy that isn't at all ironic. The figure seems not merely self-absorbed but poised at the threshold of another world, about to be beamed up, or maybe down, and not because he's chatting with his starship: The vision is too classical, too cloud-wracked and poetic. In these drawings, graphite is forced through a silk screen in process that is laborious and physically taxing, despite beginning with digital files. The result resembles photographs that have undergone transformation at a molecular level - charged with pixie dust, infused with a sincerity that reads as psychically energetic, even spiritual.
The artist's face is all but invisible - blurred and averted. In several of the drawings, he's seen at a distance of 20 yards or more, a figure in a landscape. Nothing about him is certain, not even his appearance. Questions arise. If this person is, in some sense, Narcissus, where is Echo? Is she the photographer? And if not, who is? Nor does a closer look help to clarify how these pieces are made. Whether viewed from an inch away or across the room, they are unsolvable, partaking equally of photography and the gritty, fire-born qualities of charcoal drawing. The seamless mix is visually frustrating and, for that reason, slightly disturbing. And the mystery of their manner of production gradually lends the puzzle of their vantage point more urgency: In fact, who is following this young man around and with what intentions? Is he being recorded, spied upon, stalked? Ericsson defines presence from the viewpoint of absence in drawings which drift toward cinema in their frame of reference, tinged with the wireless paranoia of a brand-new style of loneliness. "When?" is not among the questions asked by these works; the time is now.
THERE'S A BACKSTORY to the works in Narcissus that answers some of those questions and pretty much contradicts their apparent narrative content. It's not printed on the wall or available in a pamphlet, but it is hinted at in a secondary exhibit of Ericsson's work, currently on view a few miles away at the Sculpture Center in University Circle. Called Thanksgiving, that show consists of a five-foot-square, two-inch-thick black granite slab resting just millimeters above the battered floorboards of the storefront gallery space on Euclid Avenue.
If the images of Ericsson at Shaheen show a slightly disheveled young man - formal white shirt untucked, collar open, tie discarded - looking as if he had just stepped away from a wedding party or a funeral for a moment's conversation with a friend, that's not far from the mark. Over the past few years, several deaths in Ericsson's family culminated in his mother's suicide. During this period, he asked his 16-year-old brother to take a few digital shots of him wandering in the woods. The artist told me that he forgot about the camera on that late summer afternoon as he got lost in conversation with a friend who had troubles of his own.
Audiences peer down at the inscription on the stone like Narcissus gazing into his pure woodland pool. Etched on the polished granite are more than a thousand words of text, completely filling the dark surface. The word-for-word transcription of a 1992 letter that Ericsson's mother wrote to him after he left home to go to New York gives an account of the family's Thanksgiving. It quickly becomes clear that Ericsson was lucky to have missed this particular occasion. Like a scene from an Edward Albee play, Mrs. Ericsson's description of the car ride with her parents to dinner at her brother's house is a sharply drawn sketch of the way family members ignore, misunderstand, abuse, blame and hold one another responsible for the pain of living. We recognize all this from our own experience to a greater or lesser extent; it seems only appropriate to see our own images floating in the dark stone behind the bitter words. And yet the letter ends on a nearly upbeat, defiantly loving note: "Be happy and carefree forever = Do it your way and tell the rest to shut up. Love Always."
Ericsson makes work about people, places and things that aren't there - which is what every work of art does, but rarely with such active fidelity. His drawings don't seem as much like windows cut in the walls of the present as electronic screens buzzing with a presence of their own - not a view, but a rival perspective. It's difficult to finish looking at an Ericsson piece, perhaps because his work seems, like Narcissus, to be busy with its own, very private agenda. Every work of art is careless of the observer and cruel to the advances of desire, but Ericsson finds ways to intensify such estrangement. After reading his mother's letter twice and regarding the way the tomb-like slab expands under the eye - a pond full of words not rectangular like most gravestones but square like the foundation of a pyramid - I slipped back into my own mind unobserved and walked away, as if I had gone skinny-dipping in a different life.
by Matt Tullis
A thin, jet-black slab of granite, 5 feet by 6 feet, lying flat — T.R. Ericsson’sThanksgiving installation at the Sculpture Center — is strikingly similar to the thousands of headstones located a few hundred feet away in Lake View Cemetery.
“You can’t do something in that space without being aware of the huge amount of acreage of dead humans next door,” Ericsson says of the Sculpture Center, which will unveil his newest piece Nov. 7.
Like the neighboring headstones, Ericsson’s work is engraved, although not with names, dates and epitaphs. Instead, it is inscribed with the contents of a letter his mother wrote one November in the early 1990s, serving as both a memorial to her and the banalities of life.
This letter, and many others written after Ericsson fled Cleveland for New York City and art school, covers the family’s petty squabbles in incredible detail. To an 18-year-old Ericsson, they were awful and hilarious at the same time.
“[The letters] pushed me more firmly away from home,” says the artist, who now primarily resides in New York, “but I knew that is where I was from, and there was no escaping that.”
Much has changed in Ericsson’s life since his mother sent that holiday letter. His mother took her own life in 2003, prompting the Willoughby native’s return, at least on a part-time basis.
Now 36 and the father of a 9-month-old girl, Ericsson says his homecoming has helped him appreciate the seemingly insignificant pieces of our lives.
“These details of our lives are everything,” he says. “Inside of them we find redemption, dreams. When you take something as unmemorialized as an answering machine message or a fragment that was never meant to be intended as legacy, in some strange way, it tells a better story than anything else would.”
It’s the idea that storytelling isn’t reserved for orators or writers but is open to visual artists as well that drives Ericsson these days. His work has a narrative quality to it, whether through the presence of a letter written nearly two decades ago or a series of self-portraits (Narcissus,an exhibition of Ericsson’s recent graphite drawings, will open at Cleveland’s Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art gallery on Nov. 15, in conjunction withThanksgiving).
“The thing I learned after my mother’s death is that I gained some compassion,” Ericsson says. “I keep returning to that in my art. This is the story I am telling, and it is revolving around that lesson I learned in a tragic time.”
One thing he keeps coming back to is the gaze his mother would level at him as a boy.
“There were things that were fairly dark about her, but she had a quality of engaging a person that was so wholly unjudgemental and involved,” he says. “When my daughter was a few months old, I felt myself looking at my daughter with that gaze.
“I know that will have an impact on my art. I just can’t imagine how.”
September 10 - October 15, 2008
Paul Kasmin Gallery
511 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
Paul Kasmin is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition of works on paper by T.R. Ericsson. Entitled Nicotine Dream, the show will include a selection of T.R. Ericsson's recent nicotine drawings.
The pungent smell of nicotine emitted from each drawing is a bit overwhelming and jarringly contrasts with the effervescent, nostalgic and barely present nature of Ericsson's drawings. His mother was a smoker, and lit cigarettes formed, in his words, "a vigil she kept during her final years until the nicotine stains discolored the white ceilings and floral wallpaper patterns of the house into a tarnished gold,"—the same tarnished gold that dominates the palette of his nicotine drawings. These works find inspiration in his mother's terminal years coupled with anecdotes of his life, recreating the connection between her and Ericsson, her only son—all the while referencing universal themes such as love and mortality.
In creating these works on paper, Ericsson uses a silkscreen process, essentially an intensified version of the process through which his mother's white ceiling became stained yellow. Digital photographs are burned into silkscreens. Subsequently the images are recreated in nicotine as ashtrays filled with smoldering cigarettes are placed beneath the screens, slowly creating pictorial stains while destroying the screen. The process requires anywhere from fifteen to six hundred cigarettes to create a single image.
T.R. Ericsson's work belongs to a number of collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Pfizer Corporation, the J.P. Morgan Chase Collection, and the Progressive Art Collection. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
As if life isn’t hard enough they have to tear out your flowers
October 11 – Nov 3, 2007
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 11, 6-8 pm
Heidi Cho Gallery is pleased to present the first solo show in New York of T.R. Ericsson.
A native of Ohio, T.R. Ericsson first came to New York in 1991, when he attended the Art Students’ League. Currently Ericsson divides his time between New York and Ohio, and the fertile Midwestern state—known for the diversity of its artists and writers—continues to provide a birthing ground for his imagination. He is a classically trained artist, having worked as a portrait painter for a long period of time. In more recent years Ericsson’s interest in literature, philosophy, and art history has induced him to find a contemporary way to explore his inner conflicts.
In 2001 Ericsson founded Thirst magazine. This art serial, available widely through book distributors, signified a turning toward the artist’s own biography to seek the authenticity of an individual’s experience. He began to broaden themes first explored in Thirst into larger multimedia works.
The current exhibition is an attempt to put in order the artist’s particular memories about his mother and his troubled relationship with her. He comments upon the sense of misplaced feelings experienced through his personal loss. Along with this, T.R. Ericsson expresses his concern about the fragile limits between public and private life. His work is elusive, difficult, caring, obtuse—but nonetheless poetic.
Ericsson opens an intimate door, allowing us to experience the vulnerability of his mother’s personality. The artifacts that he presents, such as those in Susan and I Just Want to Go to Sleep (both made with liquid Colonial Club cocktail mix), are fragile and irreplaceable—as is each and every individual life. His works offer a paradox: simple and difficult at the same time, like the people they seek to represent. They are, in the end, expressions of love and explorations of himself, his past, and his present; imbued with a tight narrative that distills the character and personality of his subjects.
T.R. Ericsson’s work is influenced by the writings of Søren Kierkegaard and interconnected with the art of Marcel Broodthaers, Bas Jan Ader, and especially Felix Gonzalez-Torres. His poetic gravitates between the solitude of the inner world and the stillness of life and death. By urging viewers toward the non-comfort zone, in which they are forced to question the magnitude of personal emptiness, he speaks for those who have no memorable histories, and gives them a voice.
October 26, 2007
Museum and Gallery Listings
By Holland Cotter
T. R. ERICSSON: ‘AS IF LIFE ISN’T HARD ENOUGH THEY HAVE TO TEAR OUT YOUR FLOWERS’ The gallery’s news release identifies T. R. Ericsson as a portrait painter, and this New York debut show is indeed a portrait, and to some extent a self-portrait, but one made from objects and texts. The subject is the artist’s mother, an alcoholic who apparently died by suicide, and whose presence he summons through photographs, letters, transcribed voice-mail messages, containers of cocktail mix and a soundtrack of moody music. Mr. Ericsson’s basic means are not new, but he’s a subtle storyteller, and they really work, both in the show and in the self-published magazine “Thirst,” which accompanies it. Heidi Cho Gallery, 522 West 23rd Street, (212) 255-6783, heidichogallery.com, through Nov. 3.
Art & Auction, December 2005
by Barbara Pollack
Branding, not buying, is smart business as corporations shift their focus from acquiring art to supporting it.
Progressive Insurance, with corporate offices throughout the U.S., has long based its collecting on these principles. Founded by the company's former CEO Peter Lewis in the early 1970s, the Progressive Art Collection was greatly expanded by Lewis's ex wife, Toby Devan Lewis, who launched one of the most creative approaches to art in a work environment. She began by inviting contemporary artists to make challenging installations in the corporate headquarters in Cleveland and established arts education programs for its employees. Today the collection contains more than 6,000 works, with acquisitions overseen by in-house curator Scott Westover, who says, "Our current CEO, Glenn Renwick, offered only one directive: Walk the line between provocation and offense."
An example is Westover's recent acquisition of a work by Brooklyn-based artist T.R. Ericsson, who was originally from Cleveland. The piece could fit in a private collection, but its aura of violence might turn away corporate buyers. "lt's a beautiful object, an ax made from porcelain, decorated in a blue toile pattern, that hangs from a shelf," the curator says. "This ax is familiar to people out here as a tool passed through generations of families in norheastern Ohio. Even the toile pattern was available from local Sears stores."
Aqua Art Fair, Ashley Gallery with Heidi Cho
NORWAY TIMES NOVEMBER 13, 2007
By Victoria Hofmo
The first thing I noticed upon entering artist T.R. Ericsson’s first solo show,held at the Chelsea-located Heidi Cho Gallery, were the silver stars haphazardly and playfully scattered throughout the cement floor. You remember - the kind you were rewarded with when you had done a good job in school. The exhibit reminded me of two juxtaposed feelings with its hues of marble white, clear glass, sepia and small bits of granite black. At first glance it is clean and fresh as a brisk winter’s day. After looking closer it becomes a little antiseptic and medicinal, like a hospital.
I look, from left to right, around the gallery and realize that this is someone’s life story, the artist - his family - at first I am not sure. There are photos of someone’s home and pictures of a child, hospital cardiograms, letters, a crenellated ashtray from the 50s, which on closer inspection has written in such tiny lovely script “Ah Misery” and towards the end a white on white portrait – perhaps the fading memory of someone loved depicted as a shadow, a gradually disappearing memory. I later find out from Raphael DiazCasas, the director of this gallery and curator of this show, that this is a portrait of his mother whose image comes from the exture made by marble dust, a material used in a few of his other pieces.
A story about the mother
The first piece I see is the most striking and beautiful. It is the shape of a walking stick or a beautiful icicle, but has brown liquid running through its center – a substance to be injected from this large needle. It is composed of glass and a brown liquid, materials that are mirrored in the last piece. That one is separated from this otherwise linear group and stands on a pedestal in the center of the room. It is a glass urn - the kind one keeps a loved-ones remains in, but instead of ashes it is filled with that same brown substance. I realize that this is a story about the artist’s mother. But, I have not unlocked the meaning of the brown substance so I ask DiazCasas. “It is Long Island ice tea. His mother was an alcoholic and this was her drink of choice.” [There is a clue to this in the second piece, which is a text that speaks about Long Island ice teas, but I did not connect it to this brown liquid.] DiazCasas brings my attention to three small photographs, which were in an alcove that I did not realize was part of the show. He explains that the brownness of one image was made by filling a box with cigarette smoke to replicate the image. Ericsson’s mother was a smoker. It is next to an image of an old 45 record “Angel of the Morning,” his mother’s favorite song. In fact, there is usually music playing in the gallery because the artist felt it would evoke a special mood.
Stars in letters
When asked why he choose to feature this artist, DiazCasa quickly answers, “He’s a good artist; a new conceptual artist. When I saw him for the first time I was impressed with what he has to say. His work represents in many ways how people live in this country – ordinary – everyday life, regular life. It is a voice that needs to be put out and I don’t see it often in our world. The stars on the floor were his choice. When he moved from his home, his mother used to send him stars in her letters. She pushed him to study painting and be an artist.” The artist, T.R. Ericsson, is originally from Ohio and came to study at the Art Students’ League in 1991. He divides his time between both places. According to the gallery’s press release, his hometown of Ohio is a “fertile Midwestern state –known for the
diversity of its artists and writers [and] continues to provide a birthing ground for his imagination.” Ericsson also founded an art serial magazine in 2001, Thirst, and is very much influenced by philosopher Søren Kirkegaard’s. DiazCasa adds, “By urging viewers toward the non-comfort zone, in which they are forced to question the magnitude of personal emptiness, he speaks for those who have no memorable histories, and gives them a voice.” In this case, it gives not only his mother a voice, but also becomes very biographical, which allows the artist to explore his complex feelings towards her. She was a positive life force who pushed him to reach the stars, but also a negative force that made him feel guilty when he left for New York. (Her husband, his father had abandoned her, so Ericsson’s leaving added to herloneliness and his sense of responsibility.)
Painstakingly tender testament
This show is a memorial on many levels. The first, the most obvious one is that these eighteen carefully constructed pieces gathered in this place are a tribute to her. The second is displayed through his choice of forms, such as the urn or the panels etched with his mother’s vital signs at the time of her death, as well as his utilization of materials, like marble dust and black granite. Here he plays to those traditional forms and materials in which we memorialize those we hold in high esteem. But, in other pieces comprised of nontraditional materials, instead of being left to rest in stone and granite, a onedimensional heroic ending. His mother is left to rest in glass, exposed. She is reveled to us in all her complexities, warts and brilliance. This is extremely and powerfully felt in his first piece, the large glass icicle shape, which I later find out was molded from his mother’s cane, as well as the glass urn where she is laid to rest at the end of
this show. Here he creates a new kind of monument, one that transforms simple, painfully personal items into art - enduring, beautiful magnificent, leaving her and us with a lovingly crafted, painstakingly tender testament to the individual with whom most of us have our most complex relationship- our mother’s.