My artwork references the human condition—the fact that we alter the surface of the planet in both strange and beautiful ways.
Recently, I reread one of my favorite books: The Outermost House by Henry Beston. Written in 1928, Beston describes building a small cabin on Cape Cod, very close to the pounding Atlantic. He stayed the entire year, chronicling the adventure throughout the four seasons. "The world today is sick to its thin blood for the lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot." His words are so poetic that the first time I read it I could not put it down.
This past year has been unlike any other, and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I felt I needed to read Beston's book again. His words and perspective are so moving that the book became a central source of inspiration for my new work, Einstein's House Moved To An Unknown Promontory.
The house that's featured in the painting is a home that Albert Einstein once lived in. About 15 years ago I visited the house. I’ve always been interested in Einstein and located the address; 112 Mercer Street on the campus of Princeton University. One of my earlier works, The Home of Albert Einstein Moved to the Top of Silbury Hill, a Prehistoric Mound in Wiltshire England, was inspired by that visit.
For this new piece, I started as I almost always do: with a place—very much unknown. After that place was defined, I made the decision to move Einstein’s house from New Jersey to “an unknown promontory”, clearly influenced by Beston. It becomes the intersection of time and space, past and future.
As we emerge from the year-long COVID 19 quarantine, the literal and existential meaning of "home" and "place" has become central to collective reflection. One hopes that even within isolating circumstances, we can always connect to the threads that bind us to the surroundings of our natural world. As Beston so eloquently wrote, “Into every empty corner, into all forgotten things and nooks, nature struggles to pour life.”
Einstein's House Moved To An Unknown Promontory is available for sale through Tom Gehrig Studio. For additional detail photos, CLICK HERE.
TOM GEHRIG fine art