©2014 John Matson

The piece was accompanied by a 100-word statement:
Love is not simple.  Love is boundless and defines relationships with any object we ever come into contact with, animate or inanimate.  This piece is not representative of what I believe love is.  After all, the mission was to convey what love looks like.  As I approach middle age, my clearest understanding and appreciation of Love centers on my immediate family.  I look at them and I see Love in all manners of display. We’re all represented here, with hints of our mother-centric bonds and the threads uniting us, spanning any distance in time or space.
Working on a piece that had no need of a narrative was a bit of a departure for me; a strange mix of intuition and reasoning.  There are reasons for every element and object in the piece, although I did not belabor any of it.

At the time, our family's attention was focused on my mother because of her advanced Alzheimer's.  It's mom's hand represented in the piece, open to us.  My father's watchful eye behind her every move.  There is music and there are not-so-subtle representations of science and the impact of mental afflictions.  Letters for names and letters hiding and dividing the hours of our days.  Open space and light and not too much dwelling on fear or darkness.

I was humbled and awed by my father's role in all of this.  Beyond any of his brain's own wiring, there may be some traditional Scandinavian-Christian stoicism and strength at play here.  He was the structure and support network for so much of my mother's daily routines (for as long as he was able) and there was no fake Hollywood drama in how he handled things.  Quiet dignity and a belief that you deal with what you're dealt, and you do it without blame, fear, or disruptive histrionics.  A hard act to follow, though I watched his footsteps really closely through it all and I do try to live up to his amazing example.
The piece is titled memento vivere  ("remember to live") and is 6.5" x 10.5".  Media is digital paint (Photoshop), photo illustration, colored pencil, gloss medium, graphite, and embroidery thread on watercolor paper.

Back to Top