My models are all survivors of extreme experiences. They have survived war; have killed, or sustained attempts on their own livesâ€“ all are veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the Lament/Preserve series, I asked seasoned veterans to assume poses directly culled from Michelangeloâ€™s The Last Judgment in order to commemorate soldiers from Washington State that died in the War on Terror. They pose in their stead.
Exhibited in rows like headstones at Arlington National Cemetery each portrait becomes a poignant marker of the war experience. The dictionary defines embalming as a treatment to prevent decay, as protection from oblivion, and as imparting fragrance. Through the use of materials, each piece in the series takes its impulse from all three meanings. Bees wax, frankincense, myrrh, and compound spices like Egyptian Kyphi that are associated with sacred and burial rites are dripped over the portraits.