11th Entry, May 23rd 2008
What makes a person who seems happy enough or functional enough one day simply disappear?
It happens much more than we think. That question, however significant, was only part of the inspiration behind this piece. The idea really was to stamp a memory of someone who disappeared one day, an aching snapshot of someones recollection. Based on several very true stories I wanted to combine emotions of loss and hope to create the overall effect.
There are people who have touched my life, some I had seen every day at one time that I have no contact with anymore. Placing that fact with the concept of disappearing within ones self and how a loss would effect someone colors and images started to play their part. Its my experience that when someone is terribly effected by a loss it is themselves they end up looking for over again. I know of people who grossly decline because of it. They wither and are never the same and still others that survive it, spread their wings and fly.
What I meant by "Its my experience that when someone is terribly effected by a loss it is themselves they end up looking for over again." isn't so complex. It has to do with the familiarity and love associated with that loss, the exchange and investment of energy. When a closeness occurs to that most personal point an exchange of selves occurs. So when that person, place or thing goes away and it becomes debilitating a duplicate loss occurs. The loss of a section from this person's own self, more specifically that part which was encapsulated within the "other".
It is a terrific and confusing pain, more complex creatures actually can die from it. To recover from that loss, adapt and prosper in spite of it shows a tremendous strength. This happens in nature all of the time.
A rather public example of this would be the performer George Michael. His success, money and talent could not weigh out the pain he felt after the deaths of both his life partner and mother. A pain so great it imploded it's host. His abuse of drugs, alcohol, his illicit behaviors and legal run ins are all public knowledge. For 17 years the artist lay in obscurity, a self inflicted pariah simply because there was no solace.
Then he came back, his song and performance is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZXE8Fohj8M
He's now about to do a tour for the first time in almost two decades. Hope, recovery and resolution in spite of a terrible loss. This was the second half of the inspiration. A face in white looks upward, it is the largest image in the piece .
Instead of using a single canvas the choice I made to use four smaller ones was because in reality, when it comes to other people, we never really get the whole story all at once. We sometimes have to piece those things together to achieve a perception of what is going on, segments and sections to produce a revelation. We see signs of this or recall snippets of that which in retrospect make sense when placed next to one another. The result is a kind of clarity directed toward that result we are then left to deal with.
I layer the images because when I remember it happens in layers. One triggering another with wisps of straying thoughts and daydreams mixed into emotions and opinions. It doesn't happen like a story completely from beginning to end, its a pool of thoughts really. Diving into each one touching on it briefly before another envelops me.
Once the piece was finished I had a private viewing of it. I rarely give the back story when I do these, simply because although I don't mind explaining a work I dislike telling people what to look at or for. I don't want to influence the viewer, after all that is the painting's job lol.
Anyway, it went into the viewing as yet untitled. There a woman stood in front of it staring for the longest while and was asked what she thought. Without taking her eyes away she said ever so softly ". . . . it reminds me of Eric".