Various incarnations of the Reunion project were shown from 2001 until 2005. Installation in the rotunda at the Vancouver Art Gallery, 2001.
Each of the hundreds of drawings on paper within the installation Reunion is based on the same photograph of my mother, taken when she was approximately the same age that I was when I produced the drawings. Every drawing produced for this project has been included, none have been edited or omitted. The blurred and out-of-focus images are drawn with graphite powder and brushes on small translucent sheets of vellum. They represent a gestural and intuitive response to the photo, rather than articulate renderings.
Installed together in a random, overlapping fashion the drawings create a flickering portrait of an ambiguous face that shifts and dissolves from one image to the next. My mother died more than fifteen years ago, so these drawings represent a way of calling forth memories of her and her presence. As I move through my middle age, the same period of life that I best remember her, I become increasingly aware of my own mortality and gain new insights into her life and death.
While the image of my mother obviously has personal significance, I am also interested in the non-specific characteristics of this face. Individual drawings make it difficult to determine its age, gender, expressions, etc. As these characteristics become confused the field of interpretation expands. Although these images are produced with a minimal amount of information, the instantly recognizable features of the face still evoke strong associations. The distorted and blurred images appear both grotesque to the transcendent.
Article by Robin Lawrence about Reunion installation at the Richmond Art Gallery in the Georgia Straight (April 1, 2004).
Installation at the Richmond Art Gallery, 2004.
Another iteration of this project was shown at the Mount Saint Vincent University Gallery in Halifax in 2004. Local poet Kathy Mac developed a series of poems in response to the work for the exhibition catalogue. An online representation of this project, “Subsequent Collaboration: The Reunion Drawings and Poems,” was published by the journal Educational Insights in 2008.