Transcending the Physical to the Spiritual
The unstable, uncontrollable briefness of life is our snapshot of eternal being.
Life occurs unexpectedly, and follows a random trajectory of existence, while ribbons of time are subconsciously taken for granted; ending most often without notice or advanced warning.
Loss happens regardless of the steps taken in its avoidance. We lose our jobs. Once fruitful relationships become dull. Distant friendships diminish. Relatives pass away. These thoughts of the inevitable contribute to the larger themes of my work: the fragility of physical life, the unexpected experience of loss, and mostly, the unseen energy that remains.
What is left behind when the body falls? Is it merely our dust; perhaps our fleeting image? What aspect of life actually terminates? Is our essence reduced into that intangible energy called “memory”? Or is nature a continuous reinvention of life’s energy?
The intention of this body of work is to highlight the fragile brevity of earthly existence by transcending the physical to the spiritual through the process of remembrance. Fractional moments in time are recorded in the form of a photographic image, a reflection of light captured on a two-dimensional plane that we recognize as a picture of our body. Yet, our bodies are mere reflections, visible manifestations if you will, of the energy that is our real selves. The physical body is the tool we use to manipulate, transport, materialize and export the invisible form of our dreams and ideas.
I find the lives that have come, gone, and ultimately resurfaced worthy of our solemn tribute. Weekly obituaries from the Burlington Times-News provide portraits and descriptions of individuals who have lived, died, and energized the area surrounding Elon, North Carolina. By carving excerpts from the newspaper into wood, cement, and other pertinent materials, I am able to encapsulate in a semi-permanent and public way the memory of a life lost. The actual carvings, all etched in Burlington and the surrounding area, are left to exist and ultimately parallel their namesake’s entropy. These marks of existence might become worn, weathered, or even destroyed with time, yet their temporary nature mimics the physical life they represent.
It is time well spent, not considering oneself a separate entity from the rest of nature, but as a holographic fiber in a braid of interconnected threads forming a rope with no beginning and no end. And when the body dies, it doesn’t mean our fiber falls from the braid. Instead, our energy dissolves into the rope and is recycled to maintain the connection that holds the two ends of eternity together forever. Humans are not the center of the universe. We are in everything, and we are everything.
The photographs of the carvings, and the places where they exist, were taken as they were being etched. These documentations serve as remembrances of truth and fleeting occurrence in this study of a continuous, ever-changing, and never-ending life.