American, born 1972
Working across mediums—including photo-based works, sculptural objects, audio and video works—artist TR Ericsson frequently uses his own biography as a point of departure to explore universal themes of identity, grief, and loss.
Titled from the line in Sylvia Plath’s poem Edge, her last prior to taking her life, Ericsson’s series Crackle & Drag represents the artist’s attempt to come to terms with his mother’s suicide in 2003. Through found photographs and ephemera, as well as her recorded voice, Ericsson invokes the presence of his mother while she lived, as well as his memory of her during her life and in the years following her death.
Crackle & Drag does exactly what American author David Foster Wallace once asked of art, repeatedly producing content capable of disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed. Dealing with great loss, Ericsson finds something else to lose every time nothing seems to be left. He uses intimacy as a political instrument that marries the signifier and the signified, the sacred and the profane, deconstructing subtle repressions to get to the heart of what it means to be human; what it means to construct and care for a life; what it means to love. Like the first line in Jacque Derrida’s The Book of Mourning or Duane Hanson’s later works, Crackle & Drag repeatedly affirms that there is no such thing as an everyday existence. The end of the world is unique every time. Ericsson creates art of the most romantic, raw and revealing variety.
TR Ericsson’s work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Yale University Library (Special Collections) and the Progressive Art Collection as well numerous other private collections. Ericsson’s work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad including those at the Kunsthalle Marcel Duchamp, Switzerland. The artist’s first solo museum exhibition TR Ericsson: Crackle & Drag was on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2015. A monograph/artist’s book designed by the artist, published by the Cleveland Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press accompanied the exhibition.