HOUSEKEEPING

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“Then there is the matter of my mother’s abandonment of me. Again, this is the common experience. They walk ahead of us, and walk too fast, and forget us, they are so lost in thoughts of their own and soon or late they disappear. The only mystery is that we expect it to be otherwise.”

--Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

My grandmother lived in a house she had built herself in Montgomery County, Maryland. Years before she died, I dreamt that my friend Martha Saunders painted “Ulysses” above the window in her winter studio. The last time I was in her house before it was torn down, a stack of books was piled in her otherwise empty studio. The book “Ulysses” by James Joyce was on the top of the pile. I had planned to go back and get the book (for some odd reason I did not pick it up then). In all these years, I never did make it back and the house is gone now, demolished in November of 2015. 

This work is envisioned as an endless metal book represented in individual shrine or house-like passages. The depictions are of salvaged artifacts made by my grandmother, who worked as a sculptor her entire life. These life casts of her and her children (one of them my father) and the small studies from her studio serve as the traces, building a kind of  incomplete archive of her work and  home, her house not kept, as all houses are (not) eventually, but now lost.

© 2019 Rebecca Silberman

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