I began this painting in March of 2012 during my residency at the Vermont Studio Center. That month was the one year anniversary of the 9.03 Tōhoku earthquake and the tsunami that followed.
It also coincided with the one year anniversary of the passing of my sister. She chose to leave, and the internal devastation felt by those left behind was all engulfing.
That day, I was in my studio, intentionally avoiding work and hard feelings. I was perusing the internet, and there were many pictures of Japan and the destruction that followed. Among those images, several kept popping up: the aerial views of the debris floating in a clinging mass; a gigantic pile of clothes lined up just below a range of mountains; and several shots of a project to salvage family photographs that were recovered in the aftermath, drying in rows on clothing lines.
It was strange to see an event of such magnitude limited to a small screen, and I sought to reconcile that by tapping into my own grief with the tools I have. I created a compilation of these images into a large painting with the intent of reflecting the enormity of what happened and the loss that occurred.
*The images referenced were from the Associated Press and the US Navy. The photo project that was spearheaded shortly after the tsunami by Fuji Film is titled The Photo Rescue Project.
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