Raised on a sheep farm in Vermont, Ethan received his Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College and his Master of Fine Arts from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Ethan’s research and practice focuses on historical narratives and the idealized and uncomfortable ways in which they are told, retold and molded into powerful, absurd and subjective tales. In addition to works on paper, he develops large-scale wall drawings, murals and installations for site-specific projects and exhibitions, working closely with local communities, stakeholders, institutions and corporations. Recent solo museum shows include the Cahoon Museum of American Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, The Currier Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and the Clay Center in West Virginia. Ethan is represented by Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire in Paris, Obsolete Gallery in Los Angeles and Winston Wachter Fine Art in New York City and Seattle. Ethan was recently awarded the Stein Prize by MOCA Jacksonville, participated as Artist in residence at Expedia Group and Facebook Inc., was a fellow at the Ballinglen Foundation in Ireland, received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship and Massachusetts Book Award Honor and has worked extensively in France in collaboration with D+S Editions on stone lithography projects. His work is in many public, private and corporate collections and has been reviewed and published widely around the world. A monograph on his work came out in the fall of 2015 with the German publisher Hatje Cantz. His film project “Dust” with Harvest Films and wife Vita Weinstein Murrow was an official selection of the 2008 New York Film Festival. The Murrow’s mostly wordless picture books are available through Candlewick and Templar presses worldwide. In his teaching, Ethan focuses primarily on the realm of Drawing, site-specific projects and the development of narrative and story within image making.
I grew up on a tiny farm in rural Vermont. We were new to raising sheep, so we asked neighboring farmers to assist us. Their advice was a mixture of evidence tested animal husbandry and deep knowledge handed down from family and friend. Some of this latter understanding was less scientific yet just as helpful. For example, the ways in which many animals have fore-knowledge of danger long before humans do or the fact that dowsing can help you locate a well. These tips were not myths, but they weren’t explicitly factual either.
Ever since these youthful experiences, I have tried to remember that I definitively do not know everything that is happening around me, that I probably need to open my senses up and see if there’s some sort of magic or alternate story under my feet. Directionally, this feels appropriate, because while dowsing may be a falsehood, it also often points to water, so something’s up.
My projects are invested in a more vibrant partnership with the ecological world around us. Many refer to humans as part plant and celebrate delving deep into the earth with total abandon. The drawings, paintings and site-specific pieces are also tinged with a suspicion that the various character’s beliefs are filled with flaws, misinformation, and rose-colored views. The figure’s commitment to their cause is unquestioned but may not equal enough to achieve much more than reveling. That said, I like to think that the actions I refer to are still useful and necessary, albeit absurd, because they speak to a need to fall in love, burst into song and barrel through the flowers. I believe in the power of affection as we try and figure out how to be good partners with this planet.
I strive to build pieces that are filled with a love of the fertile, bursting and complex ecology that pulses around us. I want to live in a realm that encourages a view of the world that doesn’t just center humans, but elevates the funny, magical and strange place we call home.