Now that the subject of my painting investigation has actually died, my relationship to the photographs of him that I have put into my paintings feels substantially different. The focus is not completely on him, but when I look at his face, I think a lot about death: what is it, what happens after you die, is he lingering here in any way, how final is it. And the ultimate question, what do I/we do with the memories; can I/we forgive, forget, forge on.
A friend yesterday likened the death process to the birth process: going through darkness, sometimes painful, through the unknown, seeing the light and ending up in a different realm. With death it is without the body. But with what, we don’t actually know. With painting, I never know where I am going, just following what happens and what that leads me into.
My tai chi teacher, Shih Bin Wu, has said that with death, you go home. But then, what is home. I don’t think he’s thinking of a place, a house, people. It’s about the essence of being. So that is what is driving my painting process these days.