Dealing with loss has been something I have found difficult to understand. It is a loaded subject that has monumental effects on our lives and psyche. Losing a loved one carries the same weight whether it entails death or the end of a close relationship. Regardless, both sudden and unexpected deaths work in a similar pattern as they involve emotions we cannot immediately comprehend. The sudden passing of my father in February, of 2016 was emotionally devastating and life-changing for myself and my grandparents. The mourning process has helped me develop stronger relationships with the people who were also affected by the same experience, as well as the people who supported me through this journey. Despite the passage of time and considerable self-reflection, his loss is painfully present within our lives as it affects us differently every day.
I have had the opportunity to grow a stronger bond with my grandparents whom I felt were largely absent in my life prior to my father’s death. It has opened the possibility for a relational new beginning as I spent time photographing around the place he spent his last moments. I have developed a deeper empathy for them from the psychological and physical effects of losing their only son. I have now found the ability to immortalize my father by incorporating photos of him as a child and teenager. This allows me to construct arrangements through the use of family ephemera as raw material. Collecting these items was an important aspect of the work because it serves as a therapeutic outlet to remember him by. The ability to connect old memories to new ones derives directly from the objects that come from the real world. Robert Rauschenburg uses this type of method when working on his Combines, or the physical act of combining documents found imagery, and objects as an art form.
Human relationship to mortality is strange: some seek it and others avoid it. It is an inevitable part of life that we often fear as it causes times of confusion and anxiety. Everyone will experience some sort of grief from the loss of a loved one at some point in their lifetime and I hope to extend that universally as my work is viewed. Together, I hope to create the ultimate memorial for my father as he was, and still is, the biggest supporter in my journey of becoming an artist. Although the physical body dies, I can keep his memory alive through my practice.