The Art of the Project: Reflection
The audience kneels or bends. The room is silent as they pay respect to the objects, contemplating their contents as they try to puzzle together what they all might mean. Each person has a story they want to tell about the person they feel is represented. The small vials are medical, but also memorial; they present as both a scientific sample and as part of a memory. Some vials are filled to the brim while others have only an iota of substance in them. This variation in the fill lines implies that what exists in the vial is all that could be preserved. A few of the audience members read it as a chronological narrative- from left to right; others read it as non-sequential and see this as amplifying the investigation required on part of the viewer. The gold leaf and marble shelf, reminiscent of a mausoleum, merge with the repetition of the vials and small black caps to blend science and religion. Audience members mentioned that the vials seemed to appear in categories: grief (tears, funeral brochure, memorial flowers), belongings/ the body (perfume, hair, blood, fuzz from a relic), and actions (burnt brillo, motor oil, melted coke bag). This being said, it didn’t appear that a discernible statement was being made although the process was evident. This rings true with where I stand on the process/ sculpture. Some of the strengths that were mentioned were the sculptures ability to relay memory, the placement on the wall, the presentation, and the the labeling of the vials. In the future, though I like the pencil on the wall, I would like to present the sculpture with toe tags as labels instead. An interesting moment in critique, for me, was the discussion of the term “candy coating.” As it is both an idiom and an object, it becomes both metaphor and reality. I like this because I had applied the phrase “not candy coating it” to the materials I chose to present (i.e. melted coke bag, medical paraphernalia, etc.). Altogether, I feel that the sculpture turned out to be a successful material manifestation of both my sister and the process of my particular form of grief. Death is something that I carry with me; though it may not be at the forefront of my thoughts, it is always lurking closely nearby. That being said, finally getting a chance to make a sculpture dealing directly with my sister’s death feels exactly as her death has been: bittersweet.