Autumnal Equinox Vanitas Shrine 2021

During the Autumnal Equinox period I replaced the skull’s floral caplet with a wreath of fallen oak leaves. Most of them were left over from last year and I added a few new leaves gathered during recent walks. Another “new” item is the bowl of dried flower petals, mostly gathered from fallen flowers found over … Read moreAutumnal Equinox Vanitas Shrine 2021

“In the Tradition: Memento Exstingui”

Follow this link to artist Michelle Turriani’s online exhibit featuring vanitas assemblies with the skulls of endangered species: The human skull of the Vanitas or Memento Mori painting is substituted by an animal one. The viewers are invited to review their existential questioning beyond the confines of their own individual destiny and to embrace their … Read more“In the Tradition: Memento Exstingui”

The Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (Online Course)

I will be teaching this upcoming online course via the Morbid Academy, starting August 25: This course explores an emergent, dynamic and positive response to the existential problem of death denial, centered on the simple philosophical premise of “mortality sapience”; that by remembering death, we can learn to seize the day. In that spirit, artists, … Read moreThe Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (Online Course)

Spring Equinox Vanitas Altar

Part of my practice is to redesign my vanitas altar according to seasonal themes. Marking the 2021 Spring Equinox, I’ve replaced the skull’s Autumnal caplet of leaves with a caplet of dried flowers and added a peacock feather, which was both an element of some vanitas paintings of the 1700s and, in Western superstition, a … Read moreSpring Equinox Vanitas Altar

Midwinter Solstice and the Notion of Genius Loci

My Midwinter altar – I think “locus” is actually more apt in this context – is a literal illumination of the vanitas theme, a union of wunderkammer and kamidana (wunderkamidana?) It’s an assemblage of objects whose symbolic meanings are both amplified and made more subtle by their interrelationships. I try my clumsy best to make … Read moreMidwinter Solstice and the Notion of Genius Loci