TR Ericsson - Tom and Sue
Central to the exhibition are two portraits: One of Sue and another of Tom, one, which shows a young woman aging, the other expresses a young man searching for his voice as she does. The portrait of Sue consists of a 7 Volume Letter Book called "ALL MY
LOVE ALWAYS NO MATTER WHAT", which illustrates every written or taped record of Susan Robinson's voice. The portrait of Tom is called "SAD YOUNG MAN ON A TRAIN" and consists of 107 paintings created between 1992 - 2002 just prior to Sue's death. When combined, they produce an overarching portrait of filial love, grief, joy and
existential crisis. The exhibition also features the first painting TR Ericsson has made since 2002.
ALL MY LOVE ALWAYS NO MATTER WHAT
All My Love Always No Matter What is a seven-volume book collection of letters written by the artist's mother, Sue, to her only son, Tom (TR Ericsson). It took nearly twenty years and numerous other projects for the artist to finally gather this material into a singular work. What emerges in this now complete collection of letters, is a vibrant but at times tortured individual who though struggling with a variety of abuses and addictions
was still capable of great wit and humor and love: a portrait far more revealing than the image of an unknowable face. The seven volumes, mostly in her own words, chart a slow descent from her early years as a young wife and new mother to a lonely isolated figure with less and less to live for. The artist has painstakingly assembled each book with a
loving thoroughness that avoids interpretation or explanation, instead it's his mother's voice alone that is driving the narrative. In volumes 1 - 5 all the remaining typed or handwritten texts had to be digitally reproduced in rigorous detail to the exact scale of the original correspondence and then organized into a chronological timeline. Volumes 6 and 7 have audio and video components embedded in cut out pages inside the books along with a complete transcription of each recording. A profuse and disorderly jumble of original audio recordings including countless answering machine messages had to be observantly arranged into the same dated chronology as the letters. This slow and methodical process led the artist to many surprising discoveries, including his mother's
final recorded message to him just days before her death.
SAD YOUNG MAN ON A TRAIN
Sad Young Man on a Train consists of 107 oil paintings, painted by TR Ericsson between 1992 and 2002. For the then young artist, the end of the 20th century was a turbulent decade full of movement, experimentation and anxiety. In 2002, Ericsson turned 30 and
stopped painting. His mother died the following year. The loss changed the course of his life and practice. These paintings were stored away in the attic of his summer home in Painesville, Ohio, unseen and rarely thought of until the summer of 2021 when for the first time they were all hung together. What emerged was a kind of self-portrait and time capsule; a youth on the move, inspired, questioning, forging an identity. Impossible to know then and extremely evident now, these set the foundations for his epic mixed-media project "Crackle & Drag," which he has been expanding on since 2003. The title of the work, Sad Young Man on a Train, is taken from Marcel Duchamp's 1911-12 painting which he identified as a self-portrait. The painting is a cubistic one, which depicts a fragmented figure in motion on a moving train. Time, though seemingly rigid, appears malleable and abstracted: the young man, a self in motion on a train in motion. For Ericsson the many potent metaphors and conceptual games in Duchamp's painting become personalized and contemporary, recognizing how an older artist may look back with clarity, sympathy, and even gratitude for the energy it took to make the inward and existential motions required to grapple with the external forces that had surrounded his youth. As time trips over itself, the gesture of gathering these early works all together again is much more than a merely matured acknowledgment of how the past weaves into the present in unexpected ways. It accounts for the complexity of a sum when each part has its own value and has its own meaning. Meaning, which changes over time.