Exhibition 

 
 
 

Tombstones 

When you commit to making a work spanning across one year, much can and will change within that year and so too the work. When I began making this work my first son was eight months old, I was sleep deprived and grappling with my artistic identity as a new mother. Inspired by a conversation with another mother, exploring the notion that her son’s resistance to sleep was a raging against the end of the day; as if, with no concept or understanding of tomorrow, the end of each day was like a death. This resonated on such a level with my own experience, that I began to make a small tombstone to mark the death of each day; a day my son and I would never experience again. It allowed me to reflect on all that can happen in a day and what the marking of another day passing can encapsulate; relief, sadness, longing, joy, achievement, time. The work also addressed my changing practice as I was navigating continuing my work while raising a small person, working within the parameters of little and fragmented time. I committed to making a single tombstone each day for one year.

When I began the project, I did not know that my partner would die within the timeframe of the one year. The irony is astounding, particularly when considered in regard to the notion of dramatic irony; a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character. This poses many questions for me, about the artistic process, the role of intuition and levels of receptivity accessible in the creation of artistic work. How and why is it, that I began making tombstones, months before my husband would face death? In the process of making, the meaning of the work shifted. I found that the work was trying to speak to me, rather than me trying to speak through it. This changed my relationship to the work and why I continued with it, during such a difficult time in my life. Much more than marking the passing of each day, the work spoke of death, impermanence, the weight of our last days and the question of how to live out one’s days. Now each tombstone is, for me, a memento mori (latin; remember that you will die.) In the passing of each day, how can this reminder enable us, to turn toward the next day, differently?

Lighthouse Arts Collective, Group Show, Bellarine Arts Trail, 2017

 
 

Winter 

Grief can feel like a permanent and unmoving state, the season of Winter can also feel like this. For the Winter of 2017, I took a black and white polaroid each day in the same spot, as an instant, tangible reminder of the constant movement of sea and sky, light and dark. Practically this made me get out of the house each day to be present with the elements and their ever-changing states. The immediacy of the physical creation of the image was counter to and therefore a momentary alleviation from the weighted time of my days. As each photograph was placed upon my wall I referenced the external landscape with my internal landscape, engaging a dialogue between the season of Winter and the season of my grief. While the latter is ever present, the sea reminds me of the movement and change inevitable in all seasons and the way that nature can shift, reflect and see. 

Note: Out of ninety-two days I failed to photograph four days. Although I committed to a photograph each day I came to see the human element this brought to the work. Similar to the tones present within the photographs, some days were darker than others and some were failures, the point was to keep going, the photographs taken the next day, therefore, are my favourites. The polaroids were taken at Front Beach, Point Lonsdale.

Lighthouse Arts Collective, Group Show, Bellarine Arts Trail, 2017