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Posts Tagged ‘Memento Vivere’

GC myers- Memento MoriAccording to its Wikipedia entry, Memento mori (Latin ‘remember (that you have) to die’ ), or also memento mortis, “remember death”, is the Latin medieval designation of the theory and practice of the reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits.

I was originally going to use the term for the title of this new painting, a 16″ by 20″ canvas.  It has that sort of feel, from the Red Tree’s skull-like shaped crown  ( the skull is the classic symbol of a memento mori) to the darkly clad figure in the field looking downward.  It surely could be a reflection on our own mortality and the transient nature of earthly pursuits.

But I instead opted to use the flipside of this term, memento vivere which means remember to live.  I see the Red Tree here acting as a vibrant symbol of life, of glorying in the moment despite the constant specter of our inevitable mortality.

Actually, it just occurred to me that there is a yin/yang thing working here with the Red Tree and the figure acting as opposing forces.  I hadn’t noticed this before but it appears even in their physical relationship in the composition.  The Red Tree is the light, the imperative to celebrate life and the lone figure is the dark, the admonition to remember the ephemeral nature of our existence.

And with most things, treading the middle path between two opposing forces is the healthy way to go.  And maybe that is the message here– that we must remember our own mortality in order to live each day as fully as we can.

This painting, Memento Vivere,is part of Into the Common Ground, my solo show at the Kada Gallery which opens December 5, 2014.

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