Dream of the Soft Look (2013) , continues my exploration of the human life cycle. Building on my earlier work in the Elder Kinder series, these new works explore the tension between the physical and psychological elements of aging. However the show also has much to do with memory, and its enduring role throughout the life cycle. My black-and-white paintings reflect the “realness” of now. They are the mirror of the present, while the “idealized” memory, often colored over time, is presented in myriad pigments.
I've also created a short video to further explore this concept of aging. A black and white lens follows my grandfather, Leonard Bard, waking up to one of Chopin’s Nocturnes. As my grandfather goes through his daily painstaking routine of waking, showering, shaving etc., he has contemplative moments interspersed with flashbacks to his past. These memories are of his wife and daughters and are represented by 8mm footage, which was filmed by Leonard in the 1950′s.
The video presents us with my grandfather now in black and white, and my grandfather’s actual memories in color. As the video dances between the present and past, Leonard comes face-to-face with his countenance and circumstance, ultimately finding equilibrium in his memories and the wisdom gained from a lifetime of living.
Elder Kinder (2011,2012) , pays homage to the idea that age is not a deterrent to living fully, but rather a venture for exploration. My paintings examine the relationship between the limitations of social norms and the freedom to explore, particularly the juxtaposition between the young and old. The carefree nature that is associated with youth often gives way to borders and boundaries placed on adult behavior. As we transition from adult to elderly, these raw freedoms often reemerge. As a child you learn to walk; later in life we learn to unwalk, literally and metaphorically. However, the dreams of the young, often sublimated by the years, never really disappear.
I choose to explore this theme with two people very close to me, my eighty-five year old grandparents. The process of aging has always intrigued me. The lack of permanence in life and the inevitability of aging has always been on my mind growing up. I am also interested in how people, in both mind and body, respond to the passage of time. As Madeleine L'Engle said, “The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.”