Sacred Decay

A study into the end of things

Return to sender  80cm x 80cm, Oil on board. May 2021

Sacred Decay:  A study into the end of things

Death is life’s only certainty, everything with a beginning will inevitable have an end. This concept while so familiar and understood, remains foreign and uncomfortably removed from modern life. The work in this exhibition explores decay as a rite of passage, an important and essential step in completing the cycles of life. Death is not introduced here as a fear, but as a catalyst for the renewing and recycling of being. Through this work I have no desire to shock; spectators are encouraged to strip back there own preconceptions and associations with death, and to appreciate the ending of life as renewal. Our strange marriage with death in the western world is so far removed from the genuine importance of this stage of life; we are organic matter and no level of intelligence or sentience could waver this.
When entering this space, the viewer is encouraged to move clockwise, each work describing a stage of death in the order it would occur, beginning with burial, onto decay and ending with after life. Its a space to reflect on ones own feelings and experiences surrounding the end of life. Creating the work for this exhibition was deeply cathartic, being recently bereaved in my personal life, I processed grief through making. Explored are the wide range of emotions experienced when loosing a loved one; bitterness, sadness, anger, but then also relief, acceptance and fondness of memory. The natural world and the scientific aspects of decay are also discussed, the returning of organic matter back into the natural world and its recycling into new life. These works are intended to portray the positive aspects of the end of life; the incredible cycle of being returned into the biosphere in which produces and nurtures us in our time of living, and the perpetuation of an individual once their physical form has been returned to the natural world.