The College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, Ohio
30 October – 9 December 2001
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.
Objects of Devotion, Even (unpublished statement) by Michael Mercil, August 2001.