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Silence, 2009

hand-cut adhesive shelf paper, rubber stamps, ink, acrylic paint, mulberry paper, on BFK Rives

94” x 217”

 

This painting was inspired by the gores of 17th and 18th century celestial maps by Cassini and Coronelli.  Each of the seven turquoise panels contains one encrypted letter of its title. S-I-L-E-N-C-E, an allusion to the quotation from Pascal that we memorize in high school French class: Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m’effraie. The silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread.

 

I used rubber stamps based on my anthropomorphic alphabet to spell out in its margins a quotation from the Biblical Book of Job:

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determined its measurement? Surely you know. Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

 

In 2012, the Adams Billboard Company invited me to contribute a version of that mural for a highway billboard. Years later the billboard continues to pop up in unexpected locations on Interstate Highway 23 between Ann Arbor and Toledo.

 

Collection of Ross School of Business, University of Michigan