These five paintings are inspired by Anne Carson’s If Not ,Winter a translation of the fragments of Sappho’s poems and songs. Carson’s translation takes into account the missing pieces of the poet’s work by leaving empty space in the publication where the fragments of parchment (and portions of the poem) are missing. Ann Carson’s translation celebrates the importance of the lost pieces of the poem as integral to the work and as an important part of the poem that is present. By drawing our attention to the entirety of each poem –both in absence and in presence- we become aware of the presence of this absence.
The simultaneous presence and absence of Sappho’s work in Carson’s translation is conveyed through these paintings .The rich, sensuous nature of Sappho’s spirit transcends. This work was painted with a foundation of color that I extrapolated from the rich colors of parchment as it ages. The under painting of this work is made from those warm hues and is painted with a linen like texture. The next layers were then painted and erased and painted again, creating a palimpsest that both defines and obscures the ideas expressed in the poetry and acknowledges that which was lost. The atmospheric elements of the paintings suggest a ghostly mist that concurrently shrouds and illuminates the layers below.