I’m working on a series of artworks based on death in nature. I’m still trying to shape out the theme and idea behind the work, but here is what I’ve come up with so far.
I’m looking to create these portraits as a sort of tribute to the passing of time in nature, and as a reflection of the cycle of life and death. Bones and skeletons are symbolic of the passage of life and remain as a token of the life and energy that once existed. In recreating these empty shells, I am representing my own contemplation of death, and what I observe to remain after life has left.
I’ve been trying to hammer out this idea in my head over the last year, and I even wrote a poem on the subject that I submitted as part of my final collection of poems for my Senior Poetry Class last year.
Found Under Flesh
In a spongy ditch, where forest flora of moss sucks up a stream,
a bear paw rests in partial decomposition.
The part the paw should be attached to, the how and why
the pieces are detached
A boy finds the paw and brings in home in a plastic bag.
He ties it shut, surprised by the angry odor
that something torn away from being
produces, as though sensing loss,
it reacts in offensive outbursts
of smell and collapse,
as though, sensing its own futility, it fades away,
and the slow decay of cells release
its hold on preservation.
The boy hopes for something to be discovered
in examination of bone and flesh, the furry tress
coming apart like chunks of paper pulp.
But the smell of rot is too distracting,
so he boils it down, hoping to find
that what remains will produce some kind
or form of meaning.