IU

Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Hammer with Braille

The product of a rural Pennsylvania upbringing and a Quaker education, Althouse is intrigued by simple everyday objects and what they signify about the interconnectedness of our secular and spiritual lives. This image—from his Tools and Shroud s series—serves as a metaphor for work, struggle, faith, and hope. Presented on a large scale with remarkable detail, the image invites us to imagine the hammer’s history and that of its user through its surface appearance. Added digitally by the artist, the Braille text (Latin “Dona nobis, ” meaning “give us”) suggests an enigmatic prayer, what one critic has read as a fragmentary plea made by the creator of the tool for all of humanity. By altering reality and adding language, Althouse presents us with a postmodern take on a traditional trompe l'oeil still-life.

Stephen Althouse
American, born 1948
Hammer with Braille
2003
Archival pigment print
Image/sheet: 42 x 30 7/8 in. (106.7 x 78.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Lawrence D. and Lucienne LeFebvre Glaubinger, 2010.59

Large image not available.