Mourning Post number 3 (and last)
November 20, 2017
The painting Lost and Found began as a dreamlike image representing my relationship with my father during the years in which he suffered from dementia.
In the left section of the piece, I image myself swimming in my work clothes as I try to touch him, while he is far away in his own underwater world. I am trying to reach him while attempting to keep my head above water. While working on this I decided to add another part to the painting. This right-hand section relates to something I experienced, the unexplained disappearance of a plastic bag filled with letters from my mother. The loss of these tangible memories seemed to parallel my father’s loss of his own memory.
I chose to emphasize the veins in the swimming figure’s leg, veins that testify to the mid-life age of a woman and her child-bearing experiences. After looking at the entire work, which contains the arm reaching out and almost touching, opposite the legs kicking (necessary to avoid drowning as well enabling forward motion), I realized that this is our dual movement towards and away from our parents, closeness and separation, both during their lives with us and after their deaths.
The image of the lost plastic bag continues to fascinate me, and I went on to portray it in a triptych format, in the earth, air, and water.
The most recent painting imagines the work shirt and the plastic bag, in a kind of dance together, a dance of loss and creation.
These works will be on view at the exhibit Studio Dreams, opening December 1 at the Arts Center in Maalot.