Exhibition Installation Photographs of Ashes in the Night Sky

VIEW TEXT
VIEW PHOTOGRAPHS
Ashes in the Night Sky was exhibited at the Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, from October 12 - November 12, 2011. The exhibition comprised of twenty-five 36” X 44” archival pigment prints and a video loop. Following is the text from the exhibition:

These photographs were made by scanning the cremated remains of my father. In the beginning I was driven by the desire to take creative advantage of the emotional jolt his absence caused. Over time my relationship to the ashes broadened and they triggered thoughts about our collective response to death, as well as my own aging and inevitable demise.

Ultimately, this work is a meditation on the interconnectivity of life on Earth and in the Universe. I’ve read that on a clear night the unaided eye can see five planets, ten thousand stars in the Milky Way, and the glow of three other galaxies. That over one hundred times more stars fill the sky than sand grains on all the beaches of our world. That the nitrogen atoms we breathe on Earth are identical to the nitrogen atoms on Mars. That the laws of physics really are universal.

Intellectually I know all this and yet in the everyday my world is small and my cosmology is shaky. Usually I’m as oblivious to the brilliance of the night sky as to those I love. The phase of the moon, the paths of the stars and planets, they move above me unnoticed. And like those I love, too often I ignore the sun’s warmth and radiance until it has gone, its light faded to darkness.

-Bill McDowell

1. Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, October-November, 2011
2. Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, October-November, 2011
3. Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, October-November, 2011
4. Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, October-November, 2011
5. Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, October-November, 2011
6. Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, October-November, 2011
7. Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, October-November, 2011
8. Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, October-November, 2011