"Death has replaced sex as our most severe social taboo. We dislike talking about it, thinking about it, or acknowledging its presence with physical reminders."*
I have spent a year working on this series of 10 paintings to memorialize the passing of one of my great artistic influences, that of my Grandmother who was an artist in her own right and who gave me my first copy of "The Artists Handbook" by Ralph Mayer.
In her honor, this needed to be a series imbued with strength,thoughtfulness and courageousness; encompassing more then just being a personal vehicle to work out my heartache.
I spent time studying one of her favorite artists William Blake and incorporated some of his over arching themes such as "The mind cannot be separated from the soul or the human from some source of divine". I also studied his choice of palette and informed my own with shades from his Songs of Innocence.
I combined this with my research into the idea of mourning imagery and integrated historical colors and motifs of the Victorian period. I found their adherence to strict codes and rules of mourning an intricate and provocative way to channel loss. I was extremely fascinated with the mourning hair work and incorporated these design elements into my paintings.
The Passing of a loved one is a complex and sensitive topic, I am hoping that by sharing my experience I can help lessen the feeling of isolation that others may have felt or are feeling, acting as a collective type of Memento Mori for the viewers.
* Eberle, Scott G. (2005) Memory and Mourning: An exhibit history. Death Studies, 29: 6,535-557.