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Howard M Skrill
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Park Slope



ARTIST STATEMENT: I draw and paint, plein air and in studio works, public figurative statuary for my art series, the Anna Pierrepont Series. The images are often combined with words into pictorial essays that explore the traumatic and often violent erasure of collective and personal memories that arise in both the installation and removals of public statues. The Anna Pierrepont Series, unsurprisingly, is being caught up in the rising tide of the evictions of objects and the backlash to the evictions since the rise to power of the current American president, particularly since Charlottesville. Recently, I have begun creating images of the actual removals, antihistory paintings of sorts that, in their material natures, reveals the forcing of memory’s erasure as it unfolds and accelerates in the contemporary moment. These latest works (in addition to earlier pieces with the similar themes) have been assembled into my ‘Bonfire of the Vanities from the Anna Pierrepont Series’, partially named after the destruction of artworks in Renaissance, Florence at the urging of a reactionary friar. The pictorial essays are being published worldwide in popular, literary and academic publications, in addition to being exhibited in academic and other public exhibition spaces, and open studios, in NYC and elsewhere, including exhibitions on public and political art that included numerous works from the series. The series’ central purpose is to interrogate how groups come to ‘speak through the city’ by additions of artworks to public places and how this power can shift between groups thus marooning the objects that speak for the past in the present with often unhappy consequences, including evictions and violence relating to evictions. I encourage viewers to recognize the dissonance between earlier epochs’ efforts to shape memory and identity in marble and bronze products of the artistic imagination, where the persuasive power of the objects has become exhausted, leaving the objects vulnerable to real and rhetorical bonfires. My images come into being through visual encounters with objects that have somehow survived the bonfires of the past and that can be represented in the perpetual present transformed by dynamic changes in light and color in things, ideally encountered out of doors, and that have originally been created by other artists. I have named the entire project after Anna Marie Pierrepont, a grand dame of 19th century Brooklyn interred in one of the most magnificent tombs in Green-Wood Cemetery in walking distance from my home in Brooklyn, New York. I named the series after Anna, because I recognized in her strident efforts to maintain her memory and the ultimate failure of that effort, something of the hapless Ozymandias from antiquity and his trunkless legs of stone in the vast desert of Shelley’s poem and more recently with Nathan Bedford Forrest and his horse hanging from a grappling hook in 2018.
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  • Statue of J. Marion Sims before removal [plein air]
    2017
    oil stick, oil pastel, chalk pastel, graphite and colored pencil on paper
    9” x 15”
    The NYC Monuments Commission held hearings and debated the removal of controversial statues post Charlottesville. This 2018 removal was the only one actually approved, a statue of a doctor, J. Marion

  • Bust of Robert E, Lee from Bronx Community College
    2015
    oil pastel on paper
    14" x 17"
    The bust of Lee drawn at the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at Bronx Community College that has been removed after Charlottesville.

  • Removal of statue of J. Marion Sims from 5th Ave and Central Park
    2018
    Ink, gesso, goauche, pencil on paper
    10" x 30 1/2"
    The NYC Monuments Commission held hearings and debated the removal of controversial statues post Charlottesville. This 2018 removal was the only one actually approved, a statue of a doctor, J. Marion

  • Statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest strung up before removal in Memphis 2017
    2018
    Ink, gesso, goauche, pencil on paper
    9" x 30"
    The December 2017 removal of a statue of the Wizard of the Saddle Nathan Bedford Forrest from Memphis, TN, also implicated in the murder of African American Union Soldiers in the massacre of Fort Pill

  • Morgan removal Lexington, KY, 2018
    2019
    Ink, gesso, goauche, pencil on paper
    30" x 20 1/2"
    Confederate General John Hunt Morgan on horseback removed from Lexington, KY in 2017

  • Lee statue removal University of Texas at Austin
    2018
    Ink, gesso, goauche, pencil on paper
    14" x 6 1/2"
    This image captures the August 2017 removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee at night from the campus of the University of Texas at Austin

  • Empty plinth that held the statue of J. Marion Sims by 5th ave. and Central Park [plein air]
    2018
    oil stick, oil pastel, chalk pastel, graphite and colored pencil on paper
    9” x 15”
    The NYC Monuments Commission held hearings and debated the removal of controversial statues post Charlottesville. This 2018 removal was the only one actually approved, a statue of a doctor, J. Marion

  • Statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Memphis 2017 (before removal)
    2018
    ink, gesso, gouache on torn paper 2018
    22’ x 8”
    The statue of the Wizard of the Saddle Nathan Bedford Forrest from Memphis, TN, (before 2018 removal) also implicated in the murder of African American Union Soldiers in the massacre of Fort Pillow an

  • Empty plinth that held the portrait bust of Robert E, Lee from Bronx Community College
    2017
    oil stick, oil pastel, chalk pastel, colored and graphite pencil on linen board
    20” x 17”
    The empty plinth that held a portrait bust of Robert E. Lee at Bronx Community College removed at direction of NYS governor after Charlottesville.

  • Grand Army Plaza Arch
    2014
    Oil Stick and Pastel, Pencil, Chalk Pastel on Paper
    14" x 17"
    Grand Army Plaza Arch, its creation described in the essay 'Erasure' that appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Newfound: A Journal of Place [http://newfoundjournal.org/archives/volume-6/issu

  • Doughboy from Prospect Park World War I Memorial
    2014
    Oil Stick and Pastel, Pencil, Chalk Pastel on Paper, 2014
    14" x 17", 2014
    Near the recently opened Lefrak Staking Rink in Prospect Park Brooklyn, flanked by the names of Brooklyn's dead from WWI, a startled doughboy leans backward towards a veiled female figure whisper

  • Columbus at Columbus Circle
    2017
    oil stick, oil pastel, chalk pastel, graphite and colored pencil on canvas panel
    15" x 30"
    Statue at the center of the removals controversy at Columbus Circle in Manhattan

  • Grand Army Plaza Arch
    2017
    oil stick, oil pastel, chalk pastel, graphite and colored pencil on canvas panel
    15" x 30"
    The soldiers and sailors arch at Grand Army Plaza Brooklyn painted in the Fall of 2017

  • 107th United States Infantry Monument from Central Park
    2015
    Oil Stick and Pastel, Pencil, Chalk Pastel on Paper
    14" x 17"
    The dynamic World War I Memorial on 67th and 5th avenue by the entrance to Central Park

  • Male figure from World War II Memorial by Brooklyn Bridge
    2014
    Oil Stick and Pastel, Pencil, Chalk Pastel on Paper
    14" x 17"
    A male figure with a sword held against his body stands at end of a marble wall commemorating Brooklyn's dead from World War II. A female cradling a small child is on the opposite end

  • Watson and Granddaughter from Greenwood Cemetery
    2015
    Oil Stick and Pastel, Pencil, Chalk Pastel on Paper
    14" x 17"
    One of my most consistent themes since starting the Anna Pierrepont Project is this grandfather of a century ago in permanent dance with his adoring granddaughter

  • Columbus from Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn
    2014
    Oil Stick and Pastel, Pencil, Chalk Pastel on Paper
    14" x 17"
    Columbus stands in one of the most prominent spots in Brooklyn, by the Court House at Cadman Plaza and next to Brooklyn Borough Hall, pass it constantly on route to work, drew it once

  • Angel on Pedestal with a Bear Behind from Greenwood Cemetery
    2014
    Oil Stick and Pastel, Pencil, Chalk Pastel on Paper
    14" x 17"
    A angel on a pedestal with a yellow spring tree and a bear behind it from Greenwood Cemetery

  • Civic Virtue from the Side
    2015
    Oil Stick and Pastel, Pencil, Chalk Pastel on Paper
    14" x 17"
    At Greenwood Cemetery is the final resting place for 'The Triumph of Civic Virtue over Unrighteousness', this view from the side is one of many drawings completed for the pending publication

  • Union Soldiers from Grand Army Plaza Arch Brooklyn
    2014
    Oil Stick and Pastel, Pencil, Chalk Pastel on Paper
    14" x 17"
    Close up of figures [varied union soldiers] from Grand Army Plaza Arch in Brooklyn
 








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