...an entire universe vanishes (2021)
Oil on canvas
20" x 16"
The title comes from a quote from the BBC war reporter Alan Little that has stuck with me for some time:
"In my time as a war reporter for the BBC I have come across scenes like [Christopher Nevinson's painting Paths of Glory]. You cannot mistake the recently dead for the sleeping, for there is something bloodless, something shockingly, arrestingly lifeless about them. I have found myself transfixed by odd details - a bootlace tied just a few hours ago, by fingers that will now never move again. What talents lie locked into the muscle memory of those fingers? Could they, as recently as this morning, have played a melody on a piano? With the death of each individual, an entire universe vanishes."
I came back to this quote when my grandad was dying. The stories that he'd no longer be able to tell, the recurring jokes that would no longer be retold, the infinity of detail that makes up a person.
I had painted something on the canvas but came back to it in the spring, covered it in red, and formed it into something new with only minute remnants of the original painting forcing its memory to the surface.
My grandad died on 1st April 2021.