As an artist, I was drawn to the visual and allegorical exploration of family and generational transition. Perhaps I saw the handwriting on the wall in my own family back in 2010. My first series, “Family Album” resulted from my mother’s desire to hand down the family albums and the stories that accompanied them. My aunt was equally interested in passing down what was left of memories of a life fully lived. The idea of transition was all theory then; that was before the care taking, the witness of the deterioration of the body, the prolonged goodbye.
Both women died in 2012 just two months apart. My father had passed years earlier. I found the final moment, although expected, was followed by grief that seized the heart like a vice only to slowly loosen over time. The grief supplanted by a shift in perspective, an openness towards those who have passed and a confirmation in my own belief that we really are all doing the best we can with who we are.
Families are a messy business. It is the most common and the most intimate of all human experience. Our experiences range from love, anger, joy, frustration, jealousy, ambivalence, compassion. Its all there. We can’t run from who we are and a large part of who we are lays at the feet of these experiences. The death of our parents are an invitation not only to grow up, but an opportunity to look at it all through a different, more objective lens. Perhaps these writings and paintings serve as a vehicle for remembrance, closure, redemption or forgiveness, or simply a way to make peace.