Ethan Murrow uses film and photography to create farcical, theatrical narratives that are then translated into large-scale graphite drawings. These beautifully rendered drawings focus on characters as outrageous innovators and absurd explorers capturing a sense of adventure, satire, fun and defeat.

New Large-Scale Graphite Drawings of Idealized American Figures by Ethan Murrow

Drawing upon what he calls a “childhood determination to succeed and an adult obsession with glory and heroism,” Murrow’s stylized images invite his audience to consider the complexities of aspiration. The absolute confidence and passion of Murrow’s characters are intended to stand in contrast to the possibly dubious outcome of their efforts. Ethan explains, “I both admire and fear this kind of certainty.”

New Large-Scale Graphite Drawings of Idealized American Figures by Ethan Murrow New Large-Scale Graphite Drawings of Idealized American Figures by Ethan Murrow

Murrow teaches at The Tufts School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He has exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and the Brattleboro Museum. In 2015, he published The Whale, a children’s book, with Vita Murrow.

New Large-Scale Graphite Drawings of Idealized American Figures by Ethan Murrow

Grew up in a small state of Vermont, in the countryside, in the northeastern United States: a place known for its beautiful farmland, lush forests and picturesque towns. All are accustomed to deceive in front of their magnificent landscapes, as they look, as in the past. Many of its old houses and barns were lovingly restored and restored to their original appearance. Nostalgia is celebrated with the idealization of the 19th century, connected with the colonial era and its agrarian ideals in terms of property and nationalism.

New Large-Scale Graphite Drawings of Idealized American Figures by Ethan Murrow New Large-Scale Graphite Drawings of Idealized American Figures by Ethan Murrow

Playing with scale and perspective, his works often seem like optical illusions, offering viewers an unexpected inversion of the known world and exploring the boundary between reality and the imagination.

New Large-Scale Graphite Drawings of Idealized American Figures by Ethan Murrow

Murrow currently teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston at Tufts University. He has an upcoming solo exhibition of his monumental drawings at the Currier Museum of Art in the fall of this year. You can see more of his graphite works on his Instagram and website.

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