TRANSFIGURATION: into the light presents a visual journey from the material to immaterial where form is transfigured into a more beautiful or divine state. Repetition, light and movement of space and people provide the roadmap for this metaphysical pilgrimage.
The point of departure is the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine where at least 4 million people died as a result of Stalin’s instituted policy of artificial starvation – many were children. My family immigrated to Canada escaping this; others in my life did not. It is their stories that I carry as scars. Famine survivors speak of "a glass jar, filled with clear spring water", "a body shining as it if were made of glass", and "see-through and filled with water like a plastic bag", when describing their loved ones. The images conjured up by these recollections made complete sense when you consider the phases of starvation. First, the body consumes its stores of glucose, fats, and finally proteins which cannibalize the tissues and muscles. In the end, the skin becomes thin – translucent. This feeling of translucency is what I work to convey in TRANSFIGURATION through repetition and rhythm. - In my digital photography studio, I created an algorithm which became part of my artistic language. Each image was translated using the formula giving the seer the sense of rhythm and breath reconstituting these people and places, their collective voices, and past communities. This translucency weaves through the series becoming a metaphor for the journey of a people - a nation.
Victims of the famine mingle with dreamlike landscapes and texts from antique prayer books - in a dead language - crumbled before my eyes and turned into dust as I gently flipped the decaying pages. Repetitive actions: scanning, layering and brushing with ash and wax went on for days, becoming a performative experience of their own as if giving voice to the dead. The confluence and compression of matter, space and time is expressed as a visual metamorphosis fusing various planes of existence. In each image, the subjects change in form pointing to a harrowing physical process, and a destruction of individual and national identity. Only at the end of this memorial journey is healing, reappearance and remembrance possible.