Aesthetics of Death Series

2006- Present

By the time I began to conceptualize this series ten years ago, I had already spent countless hours researching the life cycle of regional steelhead and the history of their various species’ introduction into the Great Lakes. Later, I began acquiring the skills needed to locate, document, and paint these salmonids. These paintings became a vehicle for exploring how portions of our society have become disconnected from their natural environment. ( See Biological Regionalism Series )

As I became more knowledgeable about steelhead, I became more connected to them and was deeply saddened when I encountered one of their corpses. I photographed their bodies over the years not fully understanding how these images might be used in the future. Over the past decade, I started to analyze why these lifeless forms affected me. With each body I documented, I tried to estimate their age, their genetic background and the life they led over the past few years. As I looked more closely at the remains, I would search for details that would indicate what had led to their demise. I often saw these deserted or discarded bodies as metaphors for my own life. The majestic creatures that had, at one time, led noble battles in their attempts to survive and prosper. They now had become silent still-lives that were slowly being broken down by the same elements that had supported them. There seemed to be a sad irony and elegance to the cycle.

These paintings try to capture the aesthetics of this elegance and my emotional connection to these fish and the environment in which they live and die.

Series consists of 10 paintings – ongoing.

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