The Persistence of Mortality

Two series exploring the theme of mortality

Memento Mori

A series of tintypes exploring themes of mortality throughout religious iconography

Memento Mori is derived from the Latin, “Remember to die.” Commonly referred to as a reminder of death, memento moris are commonly found in Western religious paintings. These reminders often are hidden details in a piece, such as a skull rested upon the table in the background of a painting, sometimes these reminders are more explicit and embody the entire piece. These often morbidly explicit depictions of death are said to serve to make viewers reflect upon their own mortality and as a reminder that earthly pleasures are fleeting.

I became interested in the subject of memento mori through my studies in art history. In looking at art throughout Western history, the bulk of which is heavily religious, it became apparent to me that reminders of death were not merely reserved to these small details, but quite often the underlying theme of the entire image. This project, for me, was about looking at these veiled themes of mortality and bringing them to the forefront of the image. By making mortality the emphasized feature of these iconic images I seek to explore the ideas of mortality underlying the image and its context.

All That Glitters

A series of mixed media photographs glamorizing the most common of taboos

This series began when I first decided to address the theme of mortality. Surely death is one of the most common and prevalent taboos out there. With that in mind I wanted to approach the subject in a different light, I wanted my images to have a different quality while still addressing the same subject. I decided to glamorize the subject in a way through guilding the most prevalent icon of mortality, the human skeleton.

We as humans are unique in that we are aware of our inevitable mortality. This knowledge is always in the back of our minds, many would say that it fuels everything we do. In each images I explored a subject related to mortality, from our search for answers regarding the afterlife to our desire to reproduce and pass on ourselves before we go.

I took the prints of these images and mounted them to canvas. From there I applied heavy layers of paint throughout the negative space on the canvas. I wanted to convey the idea of consciousness that surrounds our thought process all while the reality of mortality lingers.