Hannah Nergaard

Memorial to Infinite Anxiety

Class of: 2022

Major: Fine Arts BFA

Medium: Glass paint on plexiglass

Faculty: Catherine Teale

Prompt: The prompt for this project was to create a memorial to a person, place, or thing. The memorial was to be based on a location somewhere in New York and was to relate directly to the history and characteristics of that place.

Integrative Studio

Integrative Seminar

I dedicated my memorial to the infinite anxiety of childhood and chose Grace Church on Broadway Av as my location. I did this because I wanted to convey through my piece the idea that no one ever really grows up. We cradle our fears and pocket our anxieties all throughout our lives, and very rarely manage to outgrow or outrun them. I chose Grace Church because of its perfectly tranquil interior, high arches, and gorgeous stained-glass windows which were soothing to me; it felt familiar and I was at ease there. Then I left its cradle, and my day- to-day worries came surging back. It was this intangible feeling I wanted to convey.

My memorial is a colourful stained glass triptych which illustrates several of my childhood fears. On the left, a child is unraveled by the divorce of their parents. In the middle, she is trapped in a small room as the sun, a symbol of pure annihilation, blazes above. On the right, she holds her dead pet by the ears, head tilted and in tears. I make several visual references in my piece, the most important being to Edvard Munch and to Gustav Klimt, both of whom were interested in ideas of psychosis and the stages of life. Finally, I decided to light my piece using string lights because I wanted the colours to glow warmly from within in a childlike way, so as to contrast with the more mature imagery and create a sense of unresolved tension.