LEST WE FORGET: Stories in Collage and Mixed Media
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana
In my art, I incorporate family mementos, found objects, ephemera and words as narrative tools to revisit historic events, family stories, our cultural heritage and our social values. As a conceptual artist, my intent is to challenge observers to project onto my works, their own meaning and provoke debate about who we are, what we stand for and how we live our lives.
This title, “Lest We Forget,” comes from an early artwork of a white baby shoe with blue ribbons which is encased in wires and rusty nails. It represents thousands of baby shoes in Holocaust museums around the world, and it is a reminder that in all wars, the physical and psychological scars left in their wake never fully disappear, not only for the generations who survive but also for those that follow.
Early works in this series depict children on ponies dressed as cowboys, juxtaposed with visions of the Holocaust and the horrors of war. The importance of appreciating different perspectives and bearing witness to injustices are also recurrent themes.
My 2015 solo show, “The Baggage We Carry & the Legacies We Leave,” is a continuation of those themes but on a deeper, more evocative level. It represents my evolution into a conceptual artist more concerned with meaning and substance than medium and method. The “baggage” in the show’s title is what defines who we are: 1. Where we came from; 2. What we believe; 3. Why we are here; and 4. How we will be remembered.
The theme of legacies is also reflected in the artists with whom I claim a kinship: Marcel Duchamp; Robert Rauschenberg; Joseph Cornell and Betye Saar. We all stand on the shoulders of Giants.
In Violence Transformed 2018, my artwork, “TRIUMPHANT: Brave, Bold & Smart,” on the theme, “STAND UP (The Artist’s Voice)” speaks of the power of artists to change the course of history and shape the future. This isn’t a lofty, impossible goal, even given today’s world. Artists throughout time have done just this by using their art to speak out against injustice, bigotry and genocide. I’m proud to be a part of that tradition.