Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The idea for "The Bells Ring for Thee" came from the presentation artist Jay Critchley and Robert O. Jones of the Preservation Society gave when a call went out to do projects for the North Burial Ground. Those present took a tour through this cemetary of ornate stones, with a history going back to the beginning of Rhode Island. When the Potters Field came up, I learned that it was also called the "Strangers Vale" and the name stuck with me.
I live down the street from the cemetary and passed through the burial ground many times for a walk or a ride on my bike. There are many trees, a pond and the ornate stones are like art to me. But going to the back of the cemetary, where the Potters Field is located, never occurred to me. Why go? Only numbers on stones, a little dishelveled with time.. a lonely place next to the highway, within view of the Bonanza bus terminal. Those who are buried there have no names, just a number; a body lost with time and a bad turn in life.
I thought this part of the cemetary deserves just as much attention as the rest. So I started thinking about artful and poetic associations with untimely death. Bells kept coming to my mind and I kept hearing blues songs, poems by Edgar Allen Poe and the final scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" with Zuzu Bailey saying, "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." I wanted this place to sing,too, to let the voices come out again.
I take a walk every day in my neighborhoood and collect what I find to make sculptures and textile art. I decided to collect cans around the cemetary and in my neighborhood to tread lightly with my materials. Everything will be recycled or repurposed when the show ends.