I am thrilled to have both pieces in this exhibit at the Morris Museum. Please check out the online catalog (I have a full page!) and all the other gorgeous work in the show.
“Death Knell,” (paper and paint on canvas, 20” x 20”)- Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, uses a metaphor of a wave in the ocean to describe human existence. The concept of returning to the ocean after the journey of the wave is complete resonated deeply with me. Sound is energy, traveling through longitudinal or transverse waves. Energy is never destroyed, but transformed and changed. .
I made gestural drawings of a skeleton rocking its head, and designed the visual representation of sound waves both undulating in ripples and spiking out in discordance and cut all of them out of paper. I layered the tolling of bells to mark someone’s death in sound waves on the canvas. Expanding from the initial symbolism of the wave, I focused on visually representing energy (life and death) as a force in both form and shape and color.
Thich Nhat Hanh quote: “When we look at the ocean, we see that each wave has a beginning and an end. A wave can be compared with other waves, and we can call it more or less beautiful, higher or lower, longer lasting or less long lasting. But if we look more deeply, we see that a wave is made of water. While living the life of a wave, the wave also lives the life of water. It would be sad if the wave did not know that it is water. It would think, “Some day I will have to die. This period of time is my life span, and when I arrive at the shore, I will return to nonbeing.” These notions will cause the wave fear and anguish. A wave can be recognized by signs—beginning or ending, high or low, beautiful or ugly. In the world of the wave, the world of relative truth, the wave feels happy as she swells, and she feels sad as she falls. She may think, “I am high!” or “I am low!” and develop superiority or inferiority complexes, but in the world of the water there are no signs, and when the wave touches her true nature—which is water—all of her complexes will cease, and she will transcend birth and death.”
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