While a Moth Hovers Briefly
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
― C.G. Jung
Conjuring the melancholy of past desires, embers long grown cold, abandoned objects ask me to paint them shadowed by the lives of the people who loved and left them. Embodying triumph and tragedy, the objects are all that’s left of those who have gone on. They haunt me, taunt me, remind me of what slipped through my hands by a rope thrown over a metal beam, pulled taut, constricting breath, a magnificent life no more. They are the last vestige of stories lost once voice is stilled.
Still life paintings―these works emerge from the mind of a survivor. They address childhoods where dysfunction is the family heirloom, a tale told through left-behind objects, a mask slipping sometimes, unable to hide the trauma that remains. These are the pictures I paint to illuminate the darkness, to learn to understand, to accept. I paint them in part for Jeff, the one I lost.
And the shadows speak, an ever present manifestation of lingering pain, at times almost imperceptible and light, at others dark, tumultuous and textured. In Miss Kitty and the Not So Cheerful Cherub, for example, flowers wilt next to formerly loved toys, old books once read by minds now dust support a worn stuffed doll, while a moth hovers briefly, and a cherub balances playfully mid-handstand with a noose on his ankle, shadows looming on the left.
Death waits. Friends, lovers, family, even memories fade. To hold those beloved just a bit longer, to hear the sound of their laughter, to catch a glimpse one last time, to dull the ache of their passing, to honor all they loved and were, I paint.
―Kelly L. Taylor