I recently read in a YA novel (don't judge) that "you can decorate absence however you want- but you're still gonna feel what’s missing.”* It caused me pause. In part, because of ideas that were ruminating all summer about what I wanted my work to convey, what I needed it to be, and a tearful conversation that bubbled over between myself and two professors that I greatly admire. Good tears. Meaningful and relevant tears about a real loss and absence I was feeling as a result of the long-distance relationship with my husband.
The revelation, in the form of crying, in public no less, allowed real head space about the projected works. I was complicating and conflating - DECORATING - a real void. If what I loved most about Two Headed Husband (see below) was documenting the freckles of my husbands back, why can't that be the whole drawing? Why not make the work that I need to make?
"You can decorate absence however you want but you're still gonna feel what’s missing.”
Two Headed Husband, graphite on paper 2016
Throughout the course of the next year, I may check-in, share a bit, about my research, the successes and failures on my path to create a really meaningful body of work. Pun intended.
I want to give purpose to the loss of time; the act of painting fills this void. Paint becomes the conduit for presence, a medium for an alternate state of being, in a space that I can occupy with my husband. Giving physicality to an emotion, an invisible wound of longing, this series is a physical marker about longing for my family.
Here are some small works in progress, a first pass of many layers of oil painting that begin that conversation:
*Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference