We yearn to know how we began. The creation of the universe is a story told through every culture, religion, and field of science. It is a man that breathes life into every microorganism over the course of the modern week; a divine being floating on lightless water, black waves lapping against black sand, resting in the coils of a giant snake commanding the creation of the world using three parts of a flower; an explosion that marks the beginning of fathomable time, all atoms racing perpetually farther away from the epicenter with the evolution of life a freak accident of chance.
We are obsessed with how we will end. Ultimately, somebody else disposes of our remains. We are wrapped in linen strips in an attempt to preserve our flesh and bones and buried with the living. We are placed underground in wooden boxes, eaten slowly by microscopic things, and mixed into dirt. We are strapped to a raft, set out to sea, and burned by flaming arrows. Pyres set us aflame to great public acclaim, while we are cremated discreetly by incinerators and placed in urns or scattered to the wind at sunset.
Through A Continuum I honor the beginning, the present, and the end as a connected stream. I use the manzanita tree as a representation of the physical body with its muscular core structure and blood-red bark. Much like humans the tree grows from seed with a lifespan ranging between decades and a century lest it be cut short by disease, lightning strike, or wildfire. Once eroded or burned back to its elements it seeps into earth and continues as a source of nutrients for others. Have we have forgotten our own place in this reciprocal chain?
I wrap the branches in golden sewing thread as a representation of the energy that creates and destroys, and the impracticality of preservation. Like the spark that begins all or the fire that reduces us to soot, the golden thread cocoons the body during a time of transformation. Thousands of strings suspend branches in space as a representation of the innumerable people that buoy us along the great path. These same threads carry us through the final chapters of life, strands connecting physical bodies to the black ether beyond. They are vestiges of the mythological forces of creation—the trails of spirits come before and energies not yet released; the collective unconscious made manifest.
Installation of A Continuum at The Great Highway Gallery, San Francisco, CA, January-February 2017.