T. R. Ericsson: Narcissus
November 15, 2008 - December 20, 2008

Artist Biography
TR Ericsson

TR Ericsson


Born Cleveland, OH 1972

Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Concord Township, OH





1991-1995     The Art Students League of New York, NY

                      The National Academy of Design, New York, NY

1990-1991     The Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH





2014   Burlington City Arts, Burlington, VT

2013   Photographs, Paintings and Objects (for a film), SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH

2011   Nicotine, SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH

           Shot 44, Kunsthalle Marcel Duchamp, Cully, Switzerland

          Etant Donnes 2°, Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York, NY

2010   Etant Donnes, SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH

2008   Narcissus, SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH

          Thanksgiving, The Sculpture Center, Cleveland, OH

          Nicotine Dream, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY

2007   As if life isn't hard enough they have to tear out your flowers, Heidi Cho Gallery, New York, NY

           And all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well when the tongues of flame are in-folded into

           the crowned knot of fire and the fire and the rose are one, Progressive Art Collection, Los Angeles, CA

2006   The Year of the Motorcycle, documentary film screening, Cleveland International Film Festival,

           Cleveland, OH

2005   The Year of the Motorcycle, Progressive Art Collection, Cleveland, OH

2003   Angst, Cleveland Public Art, Cleveland, OH




2013   A Different Kind of Order, The ICP Triennial, Artist Book Installation, International Center of Photography, New York, NY

           Where I'm Calling From, Transformer Station, Cleveland, OH

           A Family Affair: Selections from the Progressive Art Collection, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO

           Light of Day, Transformer Station, Cleveland, OH

           Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending Staircase: An Homage, Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York, NY

           Graphite, The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN

2012   Earth: Language and Symbols, Cara and Cabezas Contemporary, Kansas City, MO

2011   Practice to Deceive: Smoke and Mirrors in Fashion, Fine Art and Film, Shop Show Studio, London, UK

           New Work, Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, New York, NY

           Piece of Mind, Elga Wimmer PCC, New York, NY

2010   Facsimile, Girls' Club, Fort Lauderdale, FL

           TRANSparent TRANSlucent, Flash Space, Lawrence, KS

           Detour, SPACES, Cleveland, OH

           Recent Acquisitions, Ikon Ltd. Fine Art, Santa Monica, CA

           Eyelevel Reshelving Initiative Four, Eyelevel Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia

2009   My Gay Uncle, Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY

           balm White Show, Signs of Life Gallery, Lawrence, KS

           On Paper, SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art, Cleveland, OH

           Works on Paper, William Shearburn Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2008   A Photographic Perspective, Heidi Cho Gallery, New York, NY

2007   Andy Warhol: Factory Now, Kasia Key Art Projects, Chicago, IL

2004   Pedestrian, Nowhere to go and no money to get there, Bronx River Art Center, Bronx, NY





Agnes Gund Collection, New York, NY

The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY

The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH

The Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Photography Collection, Peninsula, OH

The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN

JP Morgan Chase Collection, New York, NY

Pfizer Corporate Collection, New York, NY

Progressive Art Collection, Mayfield Village, OH

Whitney Museum of American Art, NY






Cleveland Institute of Art Library, Cleveland, OH

Cuyahoga County Public Library, North Royalton, OH

Fine Arts Library of the Harvard College Library, Cambridge, MA

Ingalls Library and Museum Archives, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington D.C.

The Indie Photobook Library, Washington DC

The Joan Flash Artist Book Collection, Chicago, IL
Joseph Curtis Sloane Art Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Museum of Modern Art, DADABASE, New York, NY

The Rockefeller Library, Serials Department, Providence, RI
School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA




Crackle & Drag, MATTE Magazine, No. 13, 2013

Family Ties, by Jennifer Mulson, The Gazette and ColoradoSprings.com, February 21, 2013

The Reel Mccoy, by Zoe Cormier, Toronto Standard, November, 2011

Untitled, Issue 8, Libertarian Magazine, Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 2011

Recreating Etant Donnes at Francis Nauman; by Eli Epstein-Deutsch, MarcelDuchamp.net, Duchampian News and Reviews, posted February, 25, 2011

Weekend Update; by Walter Robinson, Artnet Magazine, January, 2011
Picture Post; by Emily Nathan, Artnet Magazine, January 10, 2011
Powerful drawings of woman by Ericsson push many buttons; by Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, October 29, 2010
36 Hours Cleveland; by Brett Sokol, New York Times, September 20, 2009

Through The Woods; by Douglas Max Utter, Cleveland Scene, December 2008

A Life Story; by Matt Tullis, Cleveland Magazine, October 2008

On The Performativity of Absence, Connections Interdisciplinary Conference, Reflections on Materiality and Time; by Natasha Lushetich, Bristol, Avon, UK

Review of As if life isn't hard enough they have to tear out your flowers; by Victoria Hofmo, Norway Times, November 13, 2007

Review of As if life isn't hard enough they have to tear out your flowers; by Holland Cotter, New York Times, October 26, 2007

Corporate Power; by Barbara Pollack, Art and Auction, December 2005

Downtown Cleveland, a documentary; WVIZ/PBS producer David C. Barnett, 2004

Applause; WVIZ ideastream, an interview with Dee Perry, 2002

Hold that pose; House Beautiful Magazine, September 2001





Anna Lee Stacey Foundation Grant, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1997

Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1997

Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1995

Edward G. McDowell Travel Grant, New York, NY, 1995

Lloyd Sherwood Grant, New York, NY, 1994-95

National Arts Club, Award of Distinction, New York, NY, 1993

Albert Halgarten Travel Grant, New York, NY, 1993


Press Releases
T. R. Ericsson: Narcissus

T. R. Ericsson




November 15th – December 20th, 2008


SHAHEEN modern and contemporary art is pleased to announce our debut exhibition of T. R. Ericsson.  There is an opening reception Saturday, November 15th from 7–9:00 p.m.  The exhibit continues till December 20th.


T. R. Ericsson’s first exhibition at SHAHEEN features a group of thirteen drawings delicately rendered in powdered graphite and permeated by the biographical and autobiographical themes that have guided the artist’s sculpture, drawing, video and installation work of recent years.  Entitled Narcissus, and bearing a loose thematic relationship to the myth of Narcissus and Echo, the cycle of images depicts the artist traversing a series of complex wooded landscape settings.  To create these elaborate and labor intensive drawings, Ericsson converts high-resolution digital photographs into film positives, which are subsequently burned into silkscreens.  He then rubs bags (nylon stockings, actually) containing powdered graphite through the mesh, transferring the image from the silkscreen to paper.  Intermittently, Ericsson removes the screen and reconfigures the loose medium to pull out detail utilizing erasure, stencils, brushwork, stumping and vacuuming.  The attempt to control the passage of medium through the screen, coupled with the repeated movement of the screen precipitates chance visual occurrences and enhances the drawing’s softly focused appearance. Once complete, the screen is destroyed, leaving behind a single, unique drawing.   Ultimately, Ericsson’s working process yields rich, velvety surface textures, and exceptionally detailed images that possess material permanence, yet seem precariously close to slipping away.  While the drawings derive from Ericsson’s own experiences, the process of their creation and unique materiality enforce the universal range of emotions that the artist seeks to convey.

In addition to Narcissus
, a concurrent exhibition of Ericsson’s sculpture is on view at The Sculpture Center from November 7th – December 20th (1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland, OH – 216.229.6527 – sculpturecenter.org).  Entitled Thanksgiving, the exhibit features a portrait made in response to personal loss, and obliquely by association and omissions, of the artist himself.  


Ericsson has appeared in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, among them: Paul Kasmin Gallery, NY; Heidi Cho Gallery, NY; Bronx River Art Center, NY.  His work resides in the collections of: Progressive Art Collection; The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Pfizer Corporate Collection; Museum of Modern Art, NY; JP Morgan Chase Collection; and The Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY.  Ericsson maintains studios in his native Concord Township, OH and Brooklyn, NY.


» PDF version


Through the Woods / Cleveland Scene

Volume 15, Issue 84
Published December 21st, 2008

Through The Woods
T. R. Ericsson Innovative Works Express A New Style Of Loneliness
By Douglas Max Utter

The artist T. R. Ericsson stands in the woods wearing a dark suit. Each of the 13 graphite-on-paper works in his solo exhibit, Narcissus, now at Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Gallery, shows him in a slightly different position, but always with his head bent, hand to his ear. This gesture would have meant nothing 20 years ago,but now, of course, we recognize at once what's going on: The guy's talking on a cell phone. In his distraction, like Dante in the opening lines of The Inferno or the mythical Narcissus ignoring the nymph Echo, Ericsson appears to have wandered off the path; in several of the pictures, he stands knee-deep in weeds, his shins blocked by fallen branches.


One might think "more gosh-darn irony - post-modern man locked into himself, oblivious and immune to nature, estranged from experience (what a jerk!)." But there's an atmosphere in these "drawings," as Ericsson calls them, an air of romance and elegy that isn't at all ironic. The figure seems not merely self-absorbed but poised at the threshold of another world, about to be beamed up, or maybe down, and not because he's chatting with his starship: The vision is too classical, too cloud-wracked and poetic. In these drawings, graphite is forced through a silk screen in process that is laborious and physically taxing, despite beginning with digital files. The result resembles photographs that have undergone transformation at a molecular level - charged with pixie dust, infused with a sincerity that reads as psychically energetic, even spiritual.


The artist's face is all but invisible - blurred and averted. In several of the drawings, he's seen at a distance of 20 yards or more, a figure in a landscape. Nothing about him is certain, not even his appearance. Questions arise. If this person is, in some sense, Narcissus, where is Echo? Is she the photographer? And if not, who is? Nor does a closer look help to clarify how these pieces are made. Whether viewed from an inch away or across the room, they are unsolvable, partaking equally of photography and the gritty, fire-born qualities of charcoal drawing. The seamless mix is visually frustrating and, for that reason, slightly disturbing. And the mystery of their manner of production gradually lends the puzzle of their vantage point more urgency: In fact, who is following this young man around and with what intentions? Is he being recorded, spied upon, stalked? Ericsson defines presence from the viewpoint of absence in drawings which drift toward cinema in their frame of reference, tinged with the wireless paranoia of a brand-new style of loneliness. "When?" is not among the questions asked by these works; the time is now.


THERE'S A BACKSTORY to the works in Narcissus that answers some of those questions and pretty much contradicts their apparent narrative content. It's not printed on the wall or available in a pamphlet, but it is hinted at in a secondary exhibit of Ericsson's work, currently on view a few miles away at the Sculpture Center in University Circle. Called Thanksgiving, that show consists of a five-foot-square, two-inch-thick black granite slab resting just millimeters above the battered floorboards of the storefront gallery space on Euclid Avenue.


If the images of Ericsson at Shaheen show a slightly disheveled young man - formal white shirt untucked, collar open, tie discarded - looking as if he had just stepped away from a wedding party or a funeral for a moment's conversation with a friend, that's not far from the mark. Over the past few years, several deaths in Ericsson's family culminated in his mother's suicide. During this period, he asked his 16-year-old brother to take a few digital shots of him wandering in the woods. The artist told me that he forgot about the camera on that late summer afternoon as he got lost in conversation with a friend who had troubles of his own.


Audiences peer down at the inscription on the stone like Narcissus gazing into his pure woodland pool. Etched on the polished granite are more than a thousand words of text, completely filling the dark surface. The word-for-word transcription of a 1992 letter that Ericsson's mother wrote to him after he left home to go to New York gives an account of the family's Thanksgiving. It quickly becomes clear that Ericsson was lucky to have missed this particular occasion. Like a scene from an Edward Albee play, Mrs. Ericsson's description of the car ride with her parents to dinner at her brother's house is a sharply drawn sketch of the way family members ignore, misunderstand, abuse, blame and hold one another responsible for the pain of living. We recognize all this from our own experience to a greater or lesser extent; it seems only appropriate to see our own images floating in the dark stone behind the bitter words. And yet the letter ends on a nearly upbeat, defiantly loving note: "Be happy and carefree forever = Do it your way and tell the rest to shut up. Love Always."

Ericsson makes work about people, places and things that aren't there - which is what every workof art does, but rarely with such active fidelity. His drawings don't seem as much like windows cut in the walls of the present as electronic screens buzzing with a presence of their own - not a view, but a rival perspective. It's difficult to finish looking at an Ericsson piece, perhaps because his work seems, like Narcissus, to be busy with its own, very private agenda. Every work of art is careless of the observer and cruel to the advances of desire, but Ericsson finds ways to intensify such estrangement. After reading his mother's letter twice and regarding the way the tomb-like slab expands under the eye - a pond full of words not rectangular like most gravestones but square like the foundation of a pyramid - I slipped back into my own mind unobserved and walked away, as if I had gone skinny-dipping in a different life.




T. R. Ericsson: Narcissus Through December 20 Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art 740 W. Superior Ave., Suite 101 216.830.8888 shaheengallery.com

T. R. Ericsson: Thanksgiving Through December 20 Sculpture Center 1834 E. 123rd St. 216.229. 6527 sculpturecenter.org


» PDF version


TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Lost), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
22 x 28 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Pink Narcissus), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
15 x 11 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Black Narcissus), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
22 x 28 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (August Narcissus), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
22 x 28 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Morning Narcissus), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
38 x 50 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Forgiven), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
38 x 50 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Evening Narcissus), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
18 x 24 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Dream Narcissus), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
24 x 16 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Alone), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
24 x 15 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Come), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
20 x 16 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Echolia), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
20 x 16 inches

TR Ericsson
Narcissus (Thinking, you), 2008
powdered graphite on paper
20 x 16 inches