David Spear


Gallery : Temporal Auxiliaries

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After Benton Wall
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After Benton Wall
Year: 2015
These are portraits of Thomas Hart Benton maquette and its remnants. Originally made around 1954 as a preliminary study for two large paintings made for the then newly constructed Saunders-Moses Dam on the St. Lawrence River. The project is a depiction of the first two voyages to the river led by the French explorer Cartier from the Native Americans point of view. Over the course of years this temporary sculpture was neglected before finding a home at the
University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology.

Revisiting this ephemeral, crumbling work is a re-examination of beauty, such as the Venus de Milo and Athena of Samothrace, and a re-visitation of the Momento Mori, as established by Dutch Vanitas painters. Furthermore, the maquette not only represents the foreboding consequences of European Colonialism but now can represent the aftermath of the Saunders-Moses dam.

In order to to build the dam 6,500 people were expelled from their homes, many of them Native to the region. In addition, the power produced by the dam attracted industries which over the course of time decimated the environment with pollutants causing the area to be named a Super Fund site.

Therefore, repainting the maquette represents something very familiar and yet very different for its original intentions.

To inquire about prints, please contact Dave Spear at (573) 489-0469.