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About Duets: Reveling in Remembering Collection

For this new series of work, I have been silently collaborating with my husband, John Wood, who died in July 2012.  In 2013, when I retired and moved from Baltimore to Ithaca, NY, I went through his entire archive of art work,  sorting, cataloging, and discarding. From the discards, I have gradually begun to make new work. Our art making, over the last 30 years, has been one of collaboration and mutual assistance.  Thus the process of making new work from his jettisoned projects seems to be part of the “letting go”. I call this new work: Duets: Reveling in Remembering.

For the triptych, Schoodic Point, Arcadia 1993 and 2013,  I took a discarded black and white print of John’s, taken in 1993 at Arcadia National Park (Schoodic Point) in Maine.  We had both taken pictures there, and it was a place we loved.  In October, 2013, I drove to Maine to re-visit this location, and I placed his photograph among the rocks, gradually burying it.  The beach has changed, just as my life has changed.

In John’s Thumb, 1986 and Laurie’s Thumb 2014,  I couldn’t resist imposing my thumb onto his photo.  His thumb is for “measuring the height of a beaver house”, and we always laughed about this image for its mundane and sensuous overtones.

In the image, John’s Sycamore Bark 1987 and Laurie’s Bark 2014, I used sycamore bark gathered from the trail along Fall Creek behind our house. I used bark from the same large sycamore that he had photographed in 1987.

Similarly, Laurie’s Cobble, 1987, Laurie’s Cobble with 1/2 teaspoon asphaltum after Exxon Valdez oil spill 1989, Re-photographed in 2014 combines John’s austere black and white photograph of the pink rock that I collected from a beach in Nova Scotia.  I gave him the pink rock as a gift.  After the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, he wanted to know what 1/2 teaspoon of black oil would look like on one cobblestone.  I have this artifact, and re-photographed it on the black and white image. 

For John Wood’s Lake Stones, 1987 Laurie’s Lucky Stones, 2014 he photographed a selection of lake stones, framed by a white chalk line.  I re-photographed this image with my lucky stone collection (trace fossils) using a scarlet string frame.  Collecting rocks, fossils, and shells was a favorite pastime of ours.

For Lucky Stones and Sunflowers in Fall Creek, 2014, I cut up a discarded work print of a sunflower field.  I attached it to lucky stones, and took it down to the creek, at the location where we scattered his ashes in 2013.  On the first anniversary of his death, I placed the sunflowers in the creek, anchored by my stones, allowing the current to flow over them.  The two images, side by side, have different light effects because of the shutter speed of the camera.  I like the fleeting patterns of light on the water which reflect the transience of memory.

Fold Cut Bind: 1 & 2, Two artist’s books

The first project that I did with John’s discarded work, was an artist’s book collaboration.  John had taken some of his works on paper and folded them to put them in the trash. After he passed, I took these folded pages, and folded them again. I realized I could bind them into books, giving them new life.  John had loved to fold paper, and by binding them, I created chance layouts which would have delighted him.  Several times in the past, I bound his drawings into book objects.  He loved these collaborative transformations. 

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