Looking Beyond at South Shore Art
“Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity.”
Curator Bill Houser’s exhibition statement for “Forever & After” starts with that quote from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and it’s perfectly apt. The show revolves around the subject of mortality and related themes: death, loss, mourning, commemoration, monument and, as he rather eloquently puts it, “belief in spirit with its uncertain evolution or transcendence.”
History, art, literature, religion, song and popular culture are rife with references to belief in transformation at life’s end. Whether that process involves crossing the River Styx with the boatman Charon, being welcomed by the carnal pleasures delivered by 72 virgins, being forgiven for one’s sins by a hippie messiah, being reincarnated into insect or beast, or being reunited with Mom, Dad and the childhood dog is a matter for each individual to consider or ignore.
It is profoundly difficult subject matter, and the six exhibiting artists display a series of works that challenge, question and acknowledge the multiplicity inherent in our thoughts, wishes and belief systems concerning death.