All images and text on this blog are copyright Gabrielle Fine unless otherwise noted. Use without permission is a violation of copyright law. Please contact the artist to obtain permission for any use (commercial or otherwise.) Thank you.

Friday, November 17, 2006

In memoriam

So here's the thing: The show I put up recently, which I had an opening for last Saturday, is supposed to be dedicated to a friend of mine who died 10 years ago this month. I put a lot of thought and effort into this, particularly in a piece of writing I have posted next to her picture. The problem is, due to the location of my show (in the hallway of a restaurant), it is not an ideal locale for people to read all my writing and ponder the meaning of life and death. So, because I have this wonderful internet access and blogging tool, I can bring to you my intention by posting the picture with my full statement. I love the internet.

Jean, 1992

This show is dedicated to a close friend of mine who passed away 10 years ago this month. I knew her when I was growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, between the ages of 13 and 21. In fact, I met her on my 13th birthday, and her memorial service was held on my 21st birthday. This was a coincidence, but I found the symmetry to be comforting.

Jean was a role model and mentor to me during my teen years (she was about 30 years my senior.) She was one of those rare people who are genuinely kind and thoughtful. She had a great enthusiasm for life and enjoyed many aspects of it-especially the outdoors and music. She was involved in several choirs and music groups in the Bay Area. At her memorial service, per her request, the choir of which she was a longtime member sang Mozart’s Requiem in its entirety. I correlate the images in this show with a lot of the music she liked-Mozart and other early classical music.

Jean also liked to explore the outdoors, and we went camping several times. We went for a few jaunts through the Mountain View Cemetery, a large cemetery in Oakland. She enjoyed walking and looking at the old graves. During that time period I was just discovering photography. I had my first “real” camera and one of my first rolls of black and white film was taken on such a stroll.

The picture I have included in this show was taken in 1992. I feel it captured Jean in a perfect moment-her interest and open curiosity in life, her fascination with beautiful and unusual findings such as this gate. I have made other images of this very same gate, which is striking in its circular design and intricate ironwork.

The theme of this show is “Memento Mori,” which is often translated as “remember that you will die” (or more gently, perhaps, “Remember that you are mortal.”) In its origins it is related to the phrase “Carpe Diem” (seize the day.) For myself, knowing someone like Jean inspired me to try to live life to its fullest as she did. She died relatively young, but she lived an amazing life and touched many, many people. Her memorial service was thronged. Many people spoke as I felt, of her thoughtfulness and the lively interest she took in others and the world around her. It sounds like a cliché, perhaps, but there are really people like that in the world.

Jean was genuine. She struggled with cancer for a year. In our last conversation, which was brief, I had called her after her surgery, not knowing that she was unable to talk. She must have been in a lot of pain, but she still thought to tell me, “I love you.” She died a few days later.
I want to dedicate this show to her, and to her spirit, by which I refer to her zest for life. I hope I can carry that on. She taught me a lot of things, and it still pains me to think of all the things we will never discuss. But I think she would have loved this show.

Gabrielle Fine


No comments: