The Art and Story behind The Intimacy of Memory
The idea for the Intimacy of Memory and its original body of work seeded almost years ago when the biological mother of my adopted daughter, died of AIDS. Taylor was six at the time. As I cleaned out her mother’s apartment, I had to decide what to keep. Which items would hold memories of her mother and offer Taylor comfort both in moment and throughout her life? As I selected a few dishes, her mother’s favorite shirt, a locket, a mirror, I knew it wasn’t just what I kept but also what I didn’t keep that would play a role in Taylor’s recollections.
I became curious about why people choose particular objects or keepsakes after someone close to them has died. In what ways does an object represent the person who died and the shared relationship with the survivor? How do objects celebrate a life? How do objects prompt memory and how does this memory change over time?
As part of this exploration, I interviewed participants and meditated on what I had heard. When I began to paint, the layers of color seemed to mirror the layers their recollections: feelings of loss, love and longing. While many details, faded into the background, what I felt most acutely was the sense of connection that stretched from the present to the past. I began to see how relationships and roles become fixed in time and space at the moment of death…how we forever remain mother/father/grandfather, husband/partner, sister/daughter/granddaughter.