I Will Live On
Ashmore Gallery, Savannah, GA, 2014
Centered on the life and death of my oldest brother who died when I was fifteen, this work combines family photos, found writings, and symbols in a multi-media exhibition that explores my personal experience of his death. Josh wrote “I will live on” (shown in Adumbration) months before he was killed in New York City in September 2006. The chilling discovery of these prophetic words inspired the title and intention of this work. Starting with personal family album images, I’ve distorted the 2-D pieces with computer programs and then printed directly to metal and wood, creating a visual depiction of the inconsistencies surrounding his death, and a contrast of elements that represents the duality of life and death.
These sculptures are created using lost wax metal casting, digital fabrication, mold-making and traditional woodworking processes. Epiphany and the "bodies" in Presence I, II, and III were digitally formed using 3D design software, laser cut in chronological slices, physically layered using dowels, and smoothed and finished with wood shop tools. Dreams and Adumbration, the coffin-shaped reliquaries holding two of my brother's notebooks, were cut and carved by hand. The installation of Orbs embody items representing places and memories important to Josh in hanging cast resin balls. Believed by him to be souls, these orbs gently sway, reflect light, and cast shadows, existing in the way I see and feel his spirit. The salmon is a powerful symbol of wisdom, rebirth, and perseverance marked by its journey upstream to reach its original birthplace to spawn and then die. Its goal is to overcome all obstacles in its path, and to be reunited with home. The salmon displayed in these sculptures represent my brother’s soul leaving his body and existing eternally. We learn from the salmon – and I have learned from experiencing my brother’s life and death – how to develop the wisdom needed to find meaning and purpose in our lives, and to move steadily on our spiritual journey.