The vanitas tradition in painting, whereby subject matter expresses the fleeting nature of life, has intrigued me and inspired my work with digital collage for numbers of years. The theme Its About Time readily lends itself to this work.
Dressing the Buddha
Impermanence and change are central to the teachings of the Buddha. My interest in Buddhism has taken me to Bodh Gaya, India, where the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. I collected bodhi leaves as the wind came through the garden where meditators sat. That garden surrounds the ancient tree where a statue of the Buddha is honored by a constant flow of pilgrims. Every morning a monk dresses the Buddha, working quietly and slowly in mindful ceremony. The clothes change, the pilgrims change, the tree - the third one now since the Buddha sat - changed. Understanding changes. Change and impermanence are about time.
My choice of objects includes those belonging to my father and my grandfather, and they are illuminated with memory for me. Along with fading natural beauty they speak to the fleeting nature of life. The pomegranate reminds us of the seasonal changes and emotional tumult of the myth of Persephone. At heart, the story of Persephone is about a daughter.
Ethnic textile designs are gathered to frame artifacts with historical resonance. Each object comes from a place distant in time and place from the others. The flight of the kite animates the still-life with impossible rising.
Madelaine Shelleby on her works included in About Time