Sculpture & Installation

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Slow Death of Memory

Dementia, in my personal experience watching my grandmother slip away, has shown me that the slow death of memory is more like a living death. Elsie Elkins was a world traveler, an air force wife that lived in several different countries and hosted elegant parties for foreign dignitaries. Throughout her travels my grandmother, like so many others, collected numerous souvenirs from the places she visited and lived. These artifacts are physical representations of the memories associated with those places; and, it is with more than appropriate irony that the French word for memories is "souvenir."

On the table surface are the actual objects Elsie collected throughout her lifetime of travels. Positioned above the tableaux is a large cameo. Within the profile the contrasting black normally associated with a cameo is literally falling from the picture. Charcoal dusted into the picture fades within the profile so at the top of the cranium is white and the bottom, dark. Black sand also careens from the edge of the picture to the surface below, covering many of the collected artifacts. Beneath the pile only portions of the objects are visible. This envelopment represents a second level of memory loss where even the outlines of "memories" are becoming obscured. Like an hourglass fills over time, the installation also appears to grow deeper with sand showing gradual decline – my grandmother's memories dying with her.

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