A note about naming.
me naming a piece is integral to the artwork. The
name, however, is for me and the viewer
is free to perceive whatever they like in the artwork.
piece is generally named the day it is finished as
I reflect on all that has gone on while working the
piece. By doing so, I get to know what the piece
is helping me to understand.
the “Angels of Forgetting” for
example. While working on it, a friend
gave me a book she had written about the things she
experienced as a girl growing up in Poland during
world war II.
Oddly, her recollections were not centered on loss
and tragedy. She remembered a large amount of freedom
to play with friends because the adults
seemed to mostly be distracted.
When she emigrated
US and became a psychiatrist, she felt
the need to listen to those who had been to war and
treated many Vietnam vets. Most of them only wanted
to forget what they had witnessed and been part of.
working on "Angels," I
also listened to footage of Studs Terkel
interviewing people twenty-five years after the great
depression. Those who were children during the depression
often recalled how everything turned into a game.
In many cases they remembered
the tragedy with fondness as they enjoyed families
gathering in communal living situations.
On the other hand, those who
at the time recalled hardship, stress and loss.
finished the pieces on Memorial Day, so I considered
this as a final significant
point in naming them. Throughout
the process I had been thinking about how people
As children, we have the innate ability to live in
the midst of tragedy and still remain in our bliss,
while adults in the same situations suffer greatly.
afterwards, we like to memorialize the tragedy
we suffered through with special days, museums
At least this is how it all
came to be in my mind while I was working on “Angels.”
on Memorial Day while looking at the pieces I saw
two doorways. First I saw a
doorway on the lighter piece, one
accessed consciously in the light of day. On the
darker piece, the rectangle was horizontal. It seemed
to be a doorway accessed
by the subconscious, as when sleeping.
Memorial Day, I was suddenly curious as to why we
like to memorialize tragedy.
"Lest we forget,” is
supposed to imply that we will learn from our mistakes,
but perhaps it has the opposite effect. By memorializing
our unsavory characteristics and then labeling them
as bravery and chivalry, have we have ensured
we should try a new tactic. What if, instead
of creating monuments to tragedies,
created intentional doorways past tragic perspectives,
to those of joy. Not escapism, but a focus on
through the doorways, with the grace of the same
Angels that helped us as children to experience
joy in the midst of tragedy, we might learn to increase
for me, this is encapsulated within the Angels of