Building a Wall Through My Father serves as a proposition for a sculpture that today remains unrealized. Operating as miniatures the works on view stand-in for a longer-term project in which Eliza Myrie apprentices with her father, a brick mason, documenting the construction/destruction of a 65-foot block wall across family property in Jamaica and the negotiation between a master/apprentice and father/daughter.
The destruction of the wall places the conceptual core outside the object proper, embodying it instead in the act of labor itself. The miniatures and photographs explore ancillary concepts in alternate forms. By fully realizing this proposal the work asks if it is necessary to erect the sculpture or if the miniature, in its most perfect version, can supersede the original.
Dress Rehearsal is equal in length and courses to the proposed wall. The labor to manufacture/cast each of the 2,340 cinderblocks supplants the physical manifestation of the wall. Its potentiality exists instead in the creation of the materials themselves. In this iteration the wall will ultimately remain un-built with the blocks displayed on palettes and bound as units of material.
Myrie counts masonry as her first exposure to an idea of dimension, materiality and working with one’s hands, and thus her work as an artist has been learned and is indebted to her father’s relationship to his trade. Whether built or not, the central site-specific work stands to make visible an otherwise immaterial transmission of knowledge and partnership between generations.
Eliza Myrie was born in New York and currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received her MFA from Northwestern University and BA from Williams College. Myrie was recently a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, an Artist-In-Residence at the University of Chicago in 2012 and a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2010. Myrie has taught sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently the director of the Black Artists Retreat. Exhibitions include Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago(2016); Roots & Culture, Chicago (2014); the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago (2012); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2011); Zora Space, Brooklyn, New York (2011); Applied Arts, Chicago (2011); Hyde Park Arts Center, Chicago (2010); Davidson Contemporary, New York (2010).