July 13 – October 20, 2024

Reflecting on the senseless killing of George Floyd and the universality of human experience, Marvin Espy presents new and recent paintings in Up from the Asphalt. Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a framework for processing the painful last minutes of George Floyd’s life on May 25, 2020, Espy’s paintings and words offer us a pathway to unite in mourning, stand in resolve, and share in our hopes.  

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that human motivation follows a pyramid structure, starting with basic survival needs such as food, shelter and safety, and building to a sense of belonging, esteem and, ultimately, self-actualization. In his last breaths, George Floyd pleaded for the most essential needs of Maslow’s hierarchy. This exhibition explores what is core to all people, everywhere.

Left: Marvin Espy, Forward, 2024, oil on wood panel, 36 x 48 inches; Right: Marvin Espy, Queen, 2024, oil on wood panel, 48 x 36 inches.

Buried in the asphalt are the dreams of our fathers and hopes of our mothers. Beneath the clatter of traffic and the bustle of commerce spring the philosophies of panhandlers and fables from the wise. From the pavement, we hear the chants of protest, songs of resilience, and the echoes of our ancestors linked arm in arm. Voices in the pavement, trace like diary entries. Our cracked pavements drizzled with tar read like musical notes from a quill pen. Like the movement of a clarinet over a walking bass line.

Yet our shared streets remain divided along the double-yellow lines of power and privilege. And while our feet share in a connection greater than us all, we are all captive to Earth’s gravity, pulling us ever downward. We share in the universal quest for safety, shelter, belonging and community. We spring from the ground. We rise. "Up from the Asphalt. Out of the ground."
Marvin Espy
June 4, 2024

About the Artist

A New London resident since early 2021, Marvin Espy has a studio and art gallery at 308 State Street, and teaches art at the Hygienic Gallery, New London. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Espy studied fine art under Frank Shands at Princeton High School and artist Henry Koerner (Austrian, active in America, 1915-1991) at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina before moving to Connecticut, Espy has exhibited widely, and his work has been featured in numerous publications, including Connecticut’s INK Magazine. As Espy’s work continues to evolve, he invites viewers on a profound journey where we share in grief, so that we might share in celebration. 

Visit Espy’s website to learn more. 

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