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Natural and Theological Virtues and Vices Series – Love

This site and audience specific work with familiar burial forms that display words and drawings was designed for the grieving families of the Fielding Home for Funerals in Charleston, South Carolina. A random, but engaging “lot” drawn in the Thresholds: Expressions of Art and Spiritual Life Invitational Exhibition sponsored by South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky Arts Commissions and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs curated by Eleanor Heartney.

The decisions about the form and feeling of the work came from visits to this site during regular business hours witnessing the day to day trauma of life with death. The last vestige of effort to care for the one deceased was over and over enacted with much sorrowful as well as celebratory finality. Displayed grief was at all recognized stages and more. The work was designed to function as conversation in the ceremony without intruding on privacy.

Visual conversation here is about the bewildering intricacies of moral and ethical virtue, disquietude, questioning, caring, loss, resilience, sustenance, and longing associated with the first virtue, a small word with endless facets, love. The forms and materials are chosen to support the content by their symbolic as well as emotive qualities. If conversation is unwelcome the doors can be shut. If more engagement is needed, the exterior is readable and the interior has a 4 foot two-person book with unedited writing from many who chose to participate with me in this effort to provide some comfort.

When the Thresholds event was over in Charleston the arts groups generously traveled the work to the Owensboro Museum of Art, Owensboro, KY; the South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, SC; the Marian Gallery at Transylvania University, Lexington, KY; the McColl Center for the Visual Arts, Charlotte, N.C.; the Lee Hall Gallery, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.; and the Ewing Gallery, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. Since its return, it continues to be a much asked for work in exhibitions.

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