Friday, October 9, 2009

New Eggs

I finished my newest series of eggs yesterday. With this series I've also added a little fragment of a life story that I've imagined for each character. I'm always thinking about the ways in which we capture memory and preserve little pieces of our lives in our photographs, journals, documents and other personal artifacts. I'm interested in the ways that these pieces of evidence become filtered by time and circumstance as they are passed down to future generations. When I look at an old photograph of a stranger I have so many questions: who was this person? What was she thinking at this exact moment? How did this marriage turn out? What were her dreams? What were his greatest virtues, her secret vices? What did her voice sound like? Who were his friends? Which child was the most difficult? I am mesmerized by these questions, and by the idea that each photograph is just one tiny trace of a whole life and an entire consciousness. There is so much that we can never know about this person, so much that is lost forever. And some day the same will be true of my own life. I know that this idea of our own impermanence is an uncomfortable one for a lot of people. But to me this idea is beautiful and peaceful–a call to live life vigorously, rigorously and right out loud. To seize every day, but not to take things too seriously. And it tickles me to think that maybe some day someone will look at my wedding pictures and ascribe all kinds of overly romanticized and scandalous narratives to them. ;) For my show in May I'm going to push these little narrative fragments even further, so that they become a critical piece of the installation.


Larien said...

Absolutely lovely. I love the writing tidbits the most!

Kaetlyn Wilcox said...

Thank you Larien,

I'm dreaming of a big installation of them!


aghunter said...

A beautiful post. Inspiring!!

Debby said...

Your post made me coo! I love the creative and delightful combinations of image and text. Such visual, cerebral, and thoughtful deliciousness!

DanC said...

Kaetlyn wrote, "I know that this idea of our own impermanence is an uncomfortable one for a lot of people. But to me this idea is beautiful and peaceful–a call to live life vigorously, rigorously and right out loud. To seize every day, but not to take things too seriously." In this comment, you're dealing with the core truth upon which Buddhism is based, that the essence of reality is impermanence. Buddhism's primary objective is to help its followers learn to accept and incorporate this truth into their lives in a positive way, without retreating into a contrived world of the supernatural and eternal. By contrast, Western thought found its basis with Plato's emphasis on a perfect eternity's being the most meaningful reality -- a foundation of meaning upon which Christianity became based via Augustine, who was heavily influenced by Plato. Your eggs play interestingly within this "debate" between whether eternal being or evanescent becoming is the basis of reality. Your inticately painted eggs (such a distinctly fragile choice of artistic medium) and their story fragments align more with the Eastern impulse, like the Buddhists' intricate, carefully wrought and purposefully evanescent sand mandalas and yaak butter sculptures. An egg itself is a perfect symbol for birth into the world of time, the egg being immediately destroyed by its "passenger" in the action of its birth into the world of becoming, the egg immediately becoming useless, to be replaced by the nest, which in turn will be used briefly before being abandoned for the wider evanescence of the changing world where so many birds in our time are being poressured toward extinction. Plato's and his followers' systems of thought found our world of becoming to be flawed, preferring the "other world" of removed being, translating in Christianity to some perfected afterlife somewhere beyond mere space and time. Too, often, humankind has paid more attention to other worlds than the natural world, to our time's accumulated ecological crisis. But your eggs are organically of our biosphere's world -- each egg essentially serving much like a small shrine to becoming's actual, natural world. After all humankind's confused history of thought, science has finally led us to the true frame for understanding the truest context into which we're born (again, the egg is such an quintescential emblem of birth), which is the bioevolutionary-ecological perspective: we only have one world, which we need to appreciate, its simple, everyday sacredness finding its way into us directly through contact with the natural world, as well as through other means, as through organically world-connected art. I imagine you're familar with Andy Goldsworthy's art, he being an artist very concerned with the natural, evanescent world. Though I find your eggs intriguing and attractive, I hope there also will always be a place in your work for the painted canvas, which can be such a meaningful shrine itself -- with a power to "speak" so well from a wall where we can so well contemplate it.

Dan C.

Kaetlyn Wilcox said...

Thanks Allan and Debs!

and Dan, wow! Thanks for sharing these thoughts.