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Mad, Hopeless, and Possible is inspired by the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance. In 1914, Shackleton and a crew of 27 sailed the Endurance to Antarctica in an attempt to be the first expedition to cross the continent. On route, the Endurance became icebound and eventually sank in the Weddell Sea. For over two years, the crew survived in the harsh frozen landscape before being rescued, credited in large part to Shackleton’s leadership.

The work in “Mad, Hopeless, and Possible” centers on the crew’s fruitless efforts to free the ship from the crushing ice as well as their leisure activities in between these efforts. Using watercolor and the clean white expanse of the paper, I create a cinematic landscape symbolic of the vast and empty frozen sea punctuated by an ice-bound boat and busy men frozen in motion. The contrast between black watercolor and white paper mirrors the impossible task of keeping up morale in the face of insurmountable odds. These drawings are pared down to include only the star players in what is essentially the ultimate underdog story, so popular in film and TV today.

Mad, Hopeless, and Possible was shown at Davidson Contemporary, Seattle WA, in November 2007.

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All images and content © Samantha Scherer 2008. All rights reserved.