Grave Expressions and Pins & Needles

Artist Statement for Grave Expressions and Pins & Needles

Grave Expressions

“Scary,” “morbid,” and “creepy” are all terms others have used to describe cemeteries. To me they are places rich in history, architecture, peace, beauty and a place to honor the past. I can say I've had a fascination with them for a long time. Taking photos and walks through graveyards in high school. Once my mother pasted away in 2012, my interests only grew. I hear people say that won't step foot in a cemetery. I wonder who will visit these lonely souls when they pass? Who do they know that is left alone with no one to visit them and grieve their loss?

With this series I attempt, as best I can, to render what I feel like when I come across a cemeteries,. The colorful landscapes, the statues, the stained glass, and even the wildlife that inhabit the grounds. It's a contemplative setting in a way libraries and study areas are not.

I invite you to walk with me. Not to a creepy setting, but a place creativity, beauty and self expression. A connection to those that have walked before us.

Pins & Needles

“You're gone and the time has come to release you. I can't bind myself to your soul with my tears anymore. It is now time for us both, to travel in separate worlds unknown. My grief is comforted by the knowledge that this is only a temporary separation. You will forever be entombed in my heart.”

Before you is the life of a woman laid out on a alter that commemorates a life lost to cancer. Much of the items were left in a decomposing attic open to possible destruction by nesting squirrels and mice Not to mention the effects of the climate of Western New York. My mother was only 64 when she passed and had only been diagnosed one month prior. These artifacts are all I have to supplement my memories. Left when my parents first moved into the house I would grow up in. Putting together this installation I have had my fist glimpses into her life before she had myself and my two brothers.

When painting the portrait of her I went through a lot of the same emotions I experienced when she left me in the hospital that night. It reminded of the feeling of pins and needles in my heart. I have expressed my feelings in the only way I know how, through the strokes of my brush. I do not know for sure if I am fully successful in portraying my feelings as well as paying homage to a woman who dared to love a black man in the 60's, raised 3 children, and taught for 30+ years. What I am trying to accomplish is the selfish act of putting this painful experience behind me so I can begin to move on.