E. Mur Sherman Hayman

 

ATARAXIA - Waxing Philosophical


Started two months before the 2020 presidential election - when America seemed
on the verge of a nervous breakdown, as well as a possible re-awakening - I found myself in a state of high anxiety. COVID-19, racial reckoning, and, above all, a president who disregarded constitutional law AND the needs of the American people in a way that evoked enormous fear for our democracy - all of this created an opportunity and a visceral need for artists to spend more time in the studio, and transform these feelings into something visual (and at the same time lose ourselves in the process).

This led me to start working on ATARAXIA, the biggest piece I’ve ever done - 48” x 64”. (ATARAXIA - a Greek work for a state of serene calmness; freedom from mental disturbance or anxiety)

Starting with the concept of TYRANNY and the very character of our nation, I researched thoughts and quotations from people around the world, across the centuries, hoping to give context and hope for this present moment in time.

Thoughts and sentences came to visual life using different and quirky fonts, printed on paper that I tinted in varying shades of blue, or in text that was hammered into museum board, then worked over with sgraffito techniques. Each quotation was then mounted in a frame of manipulated balsa wood or 4-ply museum board.

Behind the off-kilter array of rectangular segments is a dotted-line drawing of the Statue of Liberty, seen in perspective from below.

By looking to the past for these observations, which gave me a different perspective of how our nation survived - and giving them a new, visible life - I found hope for our future……

(Note on installation:::: there are 12 framed side pieces of various quotations to complete the panorama of pungent thoughts from history……)

 

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