We're hard-wired to look at faces. A newborn baby will be drawn to and examine a face soon after birth. That first face we see, the first face we examine in detail, is likely the face of our mother.
Each of the hundreds of drawings within the Reunion project is based on a single photograph of my mother. She died in 1991, more than ten years before this project began, so the drawings were a way to call forth memories of her and give her a presence in the here and now.
As I move through my own middle age, the same period of life I best remember my mother, I am increasingly aware of my own mortality, the limits of my life. As I grapple with aging I’m better able to understand the circumstances and struggles of her life.
I’m also interested in the non-specific characteristics of this face. Individual drawings make it difficult to determine its age, gender, expressions, etc. While these images are produced with a minimal amount of information, the instantly recognizable features of the face persist and continue to engage our attention.
In addition to the drawings on paper, I've drawn this face numerous times directly on gallery walls, within a number of different iterations of this project.
Article by Robin Lawrence about the Reunion installation at the Richmond Art Gallery in the Georgia Straight (April 1, 2004).