Drawn to the Emptiness is a showcase of drawings and relief sculptures created by artist Joseph Schairer, a third-year graduate student working towards his MFA in sculpture at UMass Dartmouth. This collection of work explores the artist’s obsession with contemplating the “nature of existence”, and the struggles that we go through in order to bring a sense of structure and purpose to our inherently chaotic world.
Recent explorations in my work have centered around themes of existentialism, and more specifically, the weight that has come with a realization that in an inherently purposeless universe, it is up to each person as an individual to find their own reasons to continue to exist. The “voids” in my work, often manifested as dark and lightless portals to an ambiguous nothingness, represent a personal battle with these thoughts. They represent an admittance that, much like the physical substance of the voids that I create, the answers to questions concerning “everything” that I find myself desperately pondering will never present themselves in an explicit way.
Although I have spent my lifetime being nearly paralyzed with fear that the responsibility of giving my existence a purpose lies with nobody but myself, I have recently taken a more optimistic approach to these thoughts. Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre has a quote verbalizing this idea, saying that: “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”
Perhaps the void doesn’t have to be terrifying. Perhaps it represents the freedom for a person to elevate themselves to levels far beyond those that could have been achieved by following a path laid out by anyone but themselves.
About Joseph Schairer
Joseph Schairer is a mixed media artist and sculptor based out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. He Received his BS in Sculpture from Southern Connecticut State University in 2019, and is currently working towards his MFA in Sculpture at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. In his free time, Joe enjoys playing videogames, bathing in science fiction, and contemplating the nature of existence.