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The University of Massachusetts Amherst


For this commission I began by trying to analyze the phenomenon that we call “freedom” in all its complexity. In the end my piece reflects a reductionist view: an attempt to illuminate freedom by defining elements which fundamentally make freedom, of any kind, for anyone, impossible. Despotism, disease – walls that are put up around us everyday – especially in this extraordinarily bruising year. Ultimately, for me freedom is the concept of expansive possibility beyond or around impediments. As is usual in my work, I excavate the past for inspiration. I feel the pull of recent as well as distant history as I try to make sense of, and respond to, the present. In wrestling with this moment in which we find ourselves, the political and the personal have become indistinguishable.


Anne Beresford’s work is often language-based, blurring the boundaries between verbal expression and emotive image – materializing somewhere between theater and painting. Her work was last shown at UMCA in 2015 when she curated Ten Thousand Wonderful Things: A Conversation with the Collection. Beresford holds a BA from Harvard University in art and art history, and an MA from New York University in theater. She has taught the history of prints and of books, as well as techniques of printmaking and painting at various colleges. In addition to an on-going series of text-based works bearing witness, in her latest works Beresford is attempting to make manifest the sense of freedom and kinesis in language & music. Collections and exhibition information can be found at


Despotism (Prayer for Freedom From) (El despotismo (rezo para liberarse)); litografía monoimpresa con aguada sobre papel hecho a mano; 2020.
Para este encargo, empecé por tratar de analizar, en toda su complejidad, el fenómeno que conocemos como “libertad”. Al final, mi obra refleja una perspectiva reduccionista, un intento de esclarecer la libertad mediante las razones por las cuales cualquier libertad es intrínsecamente inalcanzable para cualquier persona. El despotismo y la enfermedad son barreras que se construyen cada día a nuestro alrededor, sobre todo en este apabullante año. En última instancia, para mí la libertad es la posibilidad de expandirse más allá de los impedimentos, de sortearlos. Como acostumbro en mi trabajo, excavé el pasado buscando inspiración. Lo reciente y lo distante me atraen mientras trato de darle sentido al presente, de responder a este. Al luchar en este momento en el que nos encontramos, lo político y lo personal se han vuelto indistinguibles.

Anne Beresford's poster, "Depotism (A Prayer For Freedom From)". An old-fashioned, weathered flyer reading, "An Exact Defcription of DESPOTISM that worft of all DISEASES to which is added, A LAMENT of their feveral SYMPTOMS and queft for a cure? Re-thinking our days of PLENTY & FREEDOM. Leverett, Printed, read and told by all, Today near Chestnut Hill, 2020". Bordering the flyer is a mixed green and teal, leaf-like, hand-drawn frame.

Depotism (A Prayer For Freedom From), 2020
Mixed media on hand-made paper

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