Time/Place, Palindrome 48/84, Rome, Italy, 2017
Numeric coincidences have been a regular occurrence in my life. A few years ago, my father passed at age 84, when I was 48. Drawing inspiration from the palindrome 48/84, these works honor the emotional aspect of an exceptional time and place in my personal history. Here, in Rome, I’ve celebrated these numbers in a variety of ways, including physical actions in public spaces throughout the Eternal City (marking, chalking, and using my body as a measure of the numbers), experiences (wandering through museums, ruins, and churches) and creating in the studio. The work you see directly relates to the people and places I’ve encountered, in this particular place and time.
In my past work, I’ve examined numeric symmetry in nature through Li, an ancient Chinese practice of studying patterns in nature. I have also long been inspired by the artists of the Italian Arte Povera movement, who contrast the new and the old to alter our perception of the effects of the passage of time.
I feel a strong pull to explore the numbers 48 and 84 in my own work because they are personal—and potent—markers in my life. By making an artistic inquiry into this set of numbers—for instance, hand shearing paper measured at 48 and 84 inches and repeating the action 48 and 84 times, or draping translucent paper the the length of my father and me so that it echoes the togas on Roman and Greek statuary—my goal is to examine and commemorate my father’s life while remaining deeply connected to the moment and place these works were created: in Rome, in 2017. Together, these works speak to my memories of my father, to the connection and history we shared, while also becoming something new, vivid and entirely alive within contemporary Roman society.