Join us for an evening of art and ideas discussing the changing landscape in Seattle for better or for worse, and the creative work of Daphne Minkoff.
Daphne Minkoff www.daphneminkoff.com
Artist Statement: Elegy
An elegy is a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead. This piece is my elegy for the urban landscape in Seattle. I’ve always been drawn to unconventional beauty but I hope that my work will be viewed as a subtle commentary about how Seattle is in a state of flux—for better and/or worse. Many of the boarded up buildings and houses I have photographed and observed have already been demolished and replaced with condos and slick, multi-use facilities in order to create urban density. I wonder if what is being lost is greater than what is being built. Like many, I’m left with a strong sense of nostalgia for the places and images. If artists are a barometer of civilization, we are therefore also documentarians-dictating observations about the churning of society and the changes that are a result of that fermentation, agitation and upheaval.
As a painter, I’m very comfortable conveying the 3-D world onto a 2-D surface so the challenge for me in thinking about this installation were the multiple layers of space and how they would all interact and connect. I began with the painting for the backdrop because that is where I felt most at ease. I used one of my photographs of a house in the University District that had been boarded up, awaiting demolition. I began to think about what the notion of “home” means to me: safety, ownership, refuge, privacy. Home is also a place to keep my belongings, display art, enjoy family and friends and a place where intimate memories are made. These thoughts were a catalyst for the key chandelier. Keys allow one to enter into a home or living space. While creating the chandelier, I thought about how each key was utterly unique, like us, yet all similar and recognizable as a key. I wondered what they might have opened. Were they lost or simply no longer needed? The keys began to feel very figurative, like souls floating and searching for belonging. Next, I thought about the window. There was a piece of graffiti I saw written on the side of a boarded up house which said: “Lost my heart. Want it back.” It has stuck with me and I thought writing it on the window might catch the viewer’s attention from afar and pique their curiosity to investigate what’s on the other side. We have all lost something, whether a physical object, someone we loved, or perhaps even a place of habitat. Maybe the silver lining is that our losses can be a conduit for empathy, kindness and connection to others and our community.
This brings us to how you may participate in this piece and help it grow. Please take one of the empty tags in the bag and answer the question: What have you lost that you would like back? Write your answer on the tag and place it in the mail slot in the door and it will be added to the white picket fence.