Aunt Violet Artist Statement

 Aunt Violet Artist Statement

I didn’t set out to create a series based on my Aunt Violet.  I simply wanted to capture her image, to add another dimension to the memories she created for me. Aunt Violet was amongst many things, an artist. She created art in the form of sculptures and paintings, and in the way she lived her life. She painted with Rivera and was Orozco’s only assistant, and she treated the world around her with tremendous kindness and love.  We talked often of living in a cottage in the woods, each of us making art. But life, as it so often does, got in the way.

I became an artist many years after she’d been forced, by finances and age, to give up her Soho studio and then eventually move to a nursing home.  Our visits there tended to be short; my energy was low due to both a serious physical illness and the emotional toll of seeing Aunt Violet in a nursing home. Often I lacked the physical strength to bring my camera with me on these visits.  It pained me desperately that not only could I not provide for her, in my own home, the practical support she needed; but moreover hadn’t the means to provide her with life affirming surroundings, filled with music, art, poetry and love except for fleeting moments – where I believe she would have thrived longer.

There was never enough time. But we did have one visit, one gorgeous hour, during which she painted while I photographed her. I was able to bring my camera with me, and she was able to use the materials I’d brought for her.  In complete silence, we worked together, utterly in sync.

Aunt Violet was in the nursing home for six years. She died in 2008, at the age of 100.

And so, what began as a group of photos captured for my personal archives became, unexpectedly, my homage to a woman who inspired me, loved me, encouraged me, provided a blueprint for living. My tribute to Aunt Violet.

gelatin silver prints
editions of 15 (plus 1 AP)
8×10 & 11×14

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