by David Cole

Artist's Notes
(Links to some of the shrouds may be accessed by clicking the highlighted titles)

The 14 Shrouds were begun during my residency at the Anderson Center in Red Wing in the fall of 1996. Shroud #1 "Three Men Walking" was done in memory of my mother-in-law, Fannie Ablon, who died shortly after our move to Minnesota in 1992. The piece is a painting of my journey of mourning for her. I thought of the painting as enfolding her; thus it became Shroud #1.

After returning from Red Wing, I began to paint a series of very large canvases, each as a new meditation on death. Shroud #2 "Crossing Over" narrates the journey, by boat, of the return of the spirit from the form. Shroud #3 "Recollections of the Unknown" engages the chaos ensuing upon the loss of personal identity; it is shroud as aeropost. Language and landscape, perception and journey began to cohere in Shroud #4 "Speak of This in Part Only" and Shroud #5 "Langlanduagescape". These two canvases are about the simultaneous vision within and at the end of language.

Shroud # 6 "Bye Lake Champlain", Shroud #7 "Bowing at the Earthedge", and Shroud #8 "Between Storm Ports" are further explorations of the boundary between life and death and a falling into the bare bones of what remains after the mindflow separates. These are aspects of the Bardo, the timespace between dying and settling once and for all.

Shroud #9 "The Circus Womb" involved lying naked both between and upon the canvas. It is my death, my shroud. It encapsulates the energy involved in death as both an act of living and of dying. . . above and below the earth with (s)laughter. Shroud #10 "Bloom's Wake" is two-sided, the landscape atop the bodies recollected beneath. It is really Molly Bloom's "Yeses" along the bottom edge which title the piece, but Leopold Bloom's epic, voyeuristic distance shapes it.

Shroud #11 "Say 'Amen' Somebody" is a dark & celebratory piece with 3 figures on the horizontal plane. It is the gravesite, the farewell, the antiphonal echo and energy.

Shroud #12 "Sing, as in Glimpsing" is a painting buried. A strong bright red figure is now hidden below a delicate radiance. Shroud #13 "Soul: Butterfly" is the view of the landscape from both sides simultaneously. The Butterfly, in memory of Penney Trampe, my student, passes through.

Shroud #14 "The Great Spirit" commemorates the overriding, underlying Spirit of Place! Lest we forget, it is painted in sorrow.

- David Cole

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