CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A new exhibit at the Clay Center includes work that will disappear under a coat of paint in a few months.
That will happen with full approval of New England artist Ethan Murrow, though he acknowledges he grimaces a bit at the thought.
Murrow's exhibit, which officially opens Saturday, includes works on paper and an installation with a video along with wall drawings done on site.
He said that idea grew out of his training as a painter.
"When I was first getting started, doing my undergraduate work in Minnesota, I spent time in farm fields, painting a wheat crop. The farmers would stop and critique my work. It was always really friendly," he said.
The wall paintings take this notion inside.
"They are made in the moment. They're risky. They present a very different challenge for me in that I have to perform publicly for the institution," Murrow said.
"Works on paper are very solitary," he said, and created in a sterile studio. "I think art is not made for a single individual. It really is about a larger conversation with a bigger public. So building that into the practice and process is very important to me."
All of which means visitors are welcome to see the process today and tomorrow; Murrow plans to work on the pieces in follow up phases as well.
"I will add to them - they will change and mutate as the show goes along," he said.
And by all means, questions and comments are encouraged.
"I think, frankly, most people whether they admit it or not, have strong opinions about artwork," Murrow said. As he draws with ballpoint pen on a wall, it tends to make people more comfortable to ask about the process.
"It happens all the time," he said, adding some of the toughest questions come from children.
"My 4-year-old asks me some very piercing questions," he said. The best thing, he added, is seeing someone grin as a drawing takes shape.
Murrow comes to Charleston armed with hundreds of good old Bic brand ballpoint pens.