“Ars et Scientia” was painted at Northeastern University, in Boston. The school is across the street from The Museum of Fine Arts, whereEl Mac was a selected artist at 2014′s MFA Summer Auction along with Augustine Kofie and Jaybo Monk.
The mural was created with his signature spray paint technique of haloed circles and ghostly lines on the brick facade of Northeastern’s Meserve Hall. The wall has not been painted since 1893, and has seen a lot of change in that time. It began its life over a century ago as the home of the United Drug Company before eventually becoming part of the University. The subject matter and location of El Mac’s latest public work are of notable significance. His father went to Northeastern and studied engineering, during this time his father also met El Mac’s mother who was studying painting at nearby MassArt. On the building where the studies of arts and sciences converge there is clearly a deeper and much more personal artist statement that has been written on the wall.
The focus of the piece is an allegorical image of an ethereal goddess, a sort of Greek muse, who floats in a grayscale with subtle hints of color while holding a bolt of electricity in one hand and and a paintbrush in the other. Her head is raised to the stars above and her mind seems focused as spiraling chemical reactions of muted red and blue manifest into the rhythm behind her. In this work you can find El Mac’s past, present and future. The goddess is modeled after his wife. In her hands is the source material that created him. The electricity in one hand represents both science and his father the engineer, while in her other hand she holds the paintbrush which is both art and his mother the painter. The stars above her allude to the possibilities and promise of the future, as well as the space program which spurred El Mac’s father to pursue a career in engineering which was the catalyst for the families journey to the Southwest.
Photo and Text by Todd Mazer