In March 2002 I was sent to live in a lighthouse in South-West Ireland, situated strategically at the end of a long fjord as it met the turbulent North Atlantic (Roches Point).My task for the next three months was to construct the first of several anatomical hearts from sea glass, culled over the years from the shores of the Bay of Fundy, as commentary on the collapse of the ground fishery, and with that, the eventual demise of maritime culture.I arrived quite ill from chronic tick-borne illnesses, and could have stayed in bed in that cold, damp locale, was it not for the lighthouse keeper, who sizing me up, knew just what I needed.Soon enough, each dawn, the door to my cottage would burst open and he, un-announced would begin yelling: “Get up! Get up! Get up! Get dressed! Five minutes and we go to the village to get the paper!”And at the end of the day we would set out upon the parapet and chat till it was time to go in.He was tall, ruddy, lean, in his early 60’s with not so much as a speck of gray in his full head of black hair. He drank little; only when watching “the match”, and never smoked and any curse had with it intelligent delivery. I on the other hand, was vice ridden, as Irish are known for. We became good friends.As an aside to the task at hand, I had a camera continuously set on tripod to record boats and ships as they passed, in mind for a future piece.One late afternoon I took a composite of images, of a thunderhead coming in off the sea. I recall mentally attaching an aphorism to the moment, something like “I will get through this” (regarding illness).
Several months after returning to the States I called him to wish a Happy Christmas, only to learn of two emergency surgeries for cancer of the bowel and the onset of infection. I imagined saying goodbye.REPAIR, (for G.T.) is my missive, an attempt to re-create the scene he sees, knowing full well that I will fail in the attempt. He remains, to this day, gratefully alive, but like the piece, once something so catastrophic occurs, you never get back what you had before.
REPAIR #1 (for G.T.) 2005-2006paper collage on wood panel72” x 96”, 183 cm x 244 cmPrivate collection