promise

The College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, Ohio
30 October  9 December 2001

Exhibition view

Exhibition view

Promise included works existing somewhere near, if not quite within, the categories of sculpture, drawing, and painting. The titles for these pieces—fortune, ruin, virtue, desire, economy, and plenty—might be allegorical allusions to the practice of art. My visual sources included a 18th century Philadelphia carpenter’s manual, a lithograph published in 1875 by Currier & Ives, and a popular, twentieth-century quilt pattern book.

The painted words of muse conjure the goddesses of artistic inspiration against a background of three, brightly colored wallpaper panels. Ruin, is made from a pile of concrete rubble covered in 23K gold leaf. In fortune, an image of a wood ladder leans against a square of leaf-patterned wallpaper. A scattering of painted wood signs—describing character traits such as industry, honesty and perseverance—surrounds the ladder. These traits are conceived as a foundation for reaching the manifest rewards of riches, long-life, and influence. 

muse 2001 enamel paint on wallpaper 96 x 288 inches

muse 2001
enamel paint on wallpaper 96 x 288 inches

muse (detail) 2001

muse (detail) 2001

desire (detail), 2001 wood, enamel paint, 72.75 x 90 x 90 inches (including base)

desire (detail), 2001
wood, enamel paint, 72.75 x 90 x 90 inches (including base)

ruin 2001 concrete rubble, 23k gold leaf, about 24 x 36 x 36 inches

ruin 2001
concrete rubble, 23k gold leaf, about 24 x 36 x 36 inches

Exhibition view with ruin and fortune (2001 version) burned wood, wallpaper, paint, 156 x 152 x 18 inches

Exhibition view with ruin and fortune (2001 version)
burned wood, wallpaper, paint, 156 x 152 x 18 inches

fortune (detail)

fortune (detail)


Related writing
"Objects of Devotion, Even (unpublished statement)," Michael Mercil, August, 2001.