When I was in undergraduate school, I became very interested in Anthropology/Archaeology. That led me to take enough courses to get a BS degree in it without taking many more courses. Before I officially turned in a portfolio for grad school, I toyed with the idea of getting the Bachelor of Science in Archaeology first and then go to grad school! If I had, I am sure that I could have arranged to enter grad school the following year. My concerns in art and the complexities within the studies of Anthropology and Archaeology are interwoven in my mind and because of their simularities many issues in Anthropology helped define my art.
I have always envisioned being a part of a team of Archaeologist excavating a mountain’s surface and exposing layer on layer of rock, sediment, debris and different forms of life that create the intervals of growth and help to supply material to determine the age of the fossils sandwiched between the stratum. As archaeologists uncover the remains of an ancient people’s midden their story unfolds as the site is uncovered tier by dusty tier. Each layer of excavated soil is carefully sifted to find artifacts that will tell a story and give a time line for the living that inhabited that particular spot. In comparison, our thoughts, memories and emotions become multiple tiers in our mind that lead us to self-understanding and expression. Regardless of which idea they both demonstrate a passage of time structured by a complex cycle of growth, life and decay.
Many spiritual dogmas, in the past and in our present day, enlighten the cycle by believing in an afterlife. When I think about the artistic possibilities of life being spiritually continued I imagine a line of hollow, fragile forms. Each represents an empty homogenous soul that waits patiently for a heavenly tomorrow. In reality, I imagine souls serenely floating in azure blue skies accented with billowy, white clouds as they pass through the immense golden gates of heaven. On the other hand, the souls may become a part of an interminable final que and as the line of fragile forms sway, one by one the souls fall and become anonymous hollow pods that are brittle, frail and worn from the passage of time. The fettered, empty shells give little information of who or what they were. Yet they are the remains of countless people who have lived throughout history.
Death Scene Gothic Illustration Girl Reading Book
Cave at Lascaux Simone Martini 18th Century
At times, it is those people, probably us in another five hundred years, that makes me stop and try to remember them for a moment. Can you possibly guess just how many people have preceded you in death. Can you look at the three images and feel that their lives were equal to our current existence? In the majority of paintings or illustrations held in Museums there is never information about the people that are in the painting, unless they are infamous. Nonetheless, they need to be acknowledged. Imagine that the death scene, from the Lascaux caves, probably was drawn by someone with blood and urine. The death scene had to have been important to the artist to have recorded it and is as important as one that is recorded today.
Nevertheless, the relationship between man and time continues within other relationships. In our youth and early mature years our backs are metaphorically, straight and strong, while we collect stacks of memories and information. Rarely, while we are younger, do we consider our ending chapter, although our subconscious tries to signal that we are changing. Where once our memories were occupied with dense information, later in life as we grow older, we find that they may thin and fray at the edge. Where once the back never tired it now asks for a moment of rest and we begin to understand and accept that there may be passages in life that leaves us perilously fragile and degenerately transformed.
I am sure one day, I will pass through an ominous threshold and I may find I cannot live independently because I am not able to control the escalating fragility of my mind and body. If this happens I will begin a transition towards total dependence for life care. This major, unidirectional modification in life care prompts feelings of vulnerability to the world and apprehensive of tomorrow. It is evident how important it is for me to find that certain, younger person that will understand and follow my directives for my life care. The directives have already been listed in my living will and so my only worry is appointing an executor for the more distant future should I be alone to die.
Death, the end to all this thought, comes when it wishes. There is no preset date or hour, nor is there a preset script. You may think death will come and sweep you away at that unknown moment, that it will whisk your spirit instantly up to the heavens, yet sometimes for some people death lounges at the door letting the person’s degeneration become unbearable for the family and their associates. Death, that final hour, will tick in the background of my twilight…………..
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