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To recognize the notion of Vanitas, a well-known genre of seventeenth century Dutch Master paintings,

To recognize the notion of Vanitas, a well-known genre of seventeenth century Dutch Master paintings, is to additional completely enjoy Kimberly Riner’s most current entire body of function entitled Impermanence. 

Vanitas is strongly related with Memento Mori (Latin for ‘remember you have to die’) where by paintings supply a symbolic illustration of the transience of this earth. The inspiration for the identify ‘Vanitas’ arrives from the Ebook of Ecclesiastes: ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’ Very little lasts and practically nothing can maintain against decay and loss of life. It is an austere concept in which motifs symbolize the transience of prosperity (gold, purses, and jewellery) awareness (books, spyglass, maps, and pens) satisfaction (food stuff, wine cups, and materials) and, of system, decay (skulls, bouquets, timepieces, and guttering candles).

In the end, Impermanence, will be demonstrated at the Savannah Cultural Arts Centre Gallery in October, but I catch up with Kimberly throughout her August ON: See Artist in Residency at Sulfur Studios on Bull Road. Two afternoons a 7 days she has invited group associates to sign up for her in making ceramic tiles which she will wire collectively to form a grief quilt. 

As I walk in, I fulfill Tina Gilbert who is doing the job on a tile in remembrance of her spouse who died very last September. Gilbert has pressed goods important in his lifetime into the black stoneware clay. For instance, she has included his Dartmouth pin, an embossed indicator from the cheese company he owned in Wisconsin, and a paw print from his beloved pet dog. Gilbert’s tile will be fired to a wealthy matt black and be 1 of quite a few provided in the pinwheel-motivated quilt entitled A Time to Recover.

Riner received her Master of Fantastic Artwork from GSU in Sculpture and is a element time ceramics teacher at both the Savannah and Statesboro campuses of GSU, additionally serving as Visible Arts Director at the Averritt Middle for the Arts in Statesboro. She tells me, “My function is about mortality and a lot of it is about grief, from individual experiences.” Her mom died when she was 20-two and her brother took his personal everyday living although she was in graduate college. “I’ve also looked at a variety of cultures and experimented with to let their grieving practices affect my function. The Vanitas and Memento Mori continue to life oil paintings are comprehensive of iconography and symbolism this kind of as skulls, butterflies, flowers, and bugs. They seriously communicate to me. How can I recontextualize some of these into 21st century reconfigurations?” Riner solutions that issue by going for walks me as a result of some of the multi-dimensional ceramic items she has made which incorporate other products and factors these types of as LED lights, audio, and projections.

Initial is a 14-foot by 4-foot installation of dying flowers sculpted in black clay earlier mentioned a rectangle of white rock salt that signifies a grave. “I was wondering of how we place flowers on graves and the prosperous tradition of salt as a commercial commodity that relates to trade and wealth…The Dutch Masters have been seeking to point folks absent from worldly merchandise to concentration on non secular matters,” Riner clarifies. She added a single white flower in the heart to characterize hope and bundled a seem aspect (her twin daughters have been audio majors and tunes is important to her relatives). Thus, the gravely solemn and transcendent Lacrimosa from Mozart’s last requiem was ‘stretched out’ to make it far more summary though retaining its which means.

A different piece, entitled Allegory to a Even now Everyday living is comprised of a random pile of ceramic Vanitas objects these as musical instruments, skulls, jewellery, bowls and cups, a crown, rotted fruit, and time pieces. The set up is about 5 toes in diameter and contains a projected video of popping bubbles – the top reference to life’s impermanence. 

Riner future displays me a suspended installation manufactured up of lots of ceramic butterfly shapes, tediously and painstakingly wired jointly to variety a dress. “This is a costume that was born out of my mom not getting present at my wedding day,” she states, and explains how butterflies are yet another Vanitas portray symbol of resurrection and rebirth. The hanging gown is vacant the soul of the individual is gone, and an LED mild shines down inside of of it. 

Considerably of Riner’s get the job done include fabric features which led her to assume about generating grief quilts. She exhibits me Requiem Tapestry comprised of distinct shards pieced collectively and where by, if one particular appears to be closely, a cranium can be discerned in the heart. She tells me, “I was contemplating about fragments of time, fragments of memory and distinct textures coming alongside one another.” 

One more piece termed #Selfie Culture was encouraged by thinking how her kids (and so numerous of us) are living by their phones. “I slip solid 120 mobile telephones and put a mirror decal on each individual so that you see your self when you arrive up to the piece, but your look at is distorted, which is really considerably what social media does.” The cellular phone, is most surely a Vanitas object!”

The existing piece she is functioning on at Sulfur Studios references the quite a few losses we have all enduring for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, her own kids graduated college devoid of an in-man or woman ceremony. Individuals have dropped their beloved kinds, their friends. “But also, its getting rid of activities, and alternatives and jobs,” Riner states. “The challenge is about supplying folks the opportunity to honor all those feelings. Artwork can acquire a thing intangible and make it tangible.” 

1 local community member who collaborated with Riner was likely by way of restoration and was thinking of all the time and ordeals she dropped through her existence selections. She introduced her recovery medallion and pressed it into the clay. A further woman’s husband had died by suicide. Coincidentally, Riner’s mom was in restoration at the time of her dying and, as aforementioned, her brother died by suicide. Individuals losses obviously fuel significantly of her existing get the job done. 

All members have been questioned to journal about the quilt tiles they have made, and when Impermanence is installed in Oct, Riner will put the journal on a pedestal so that people today can read about the inspirations and add their have grief activities. Meanwhile, be certain to quit by her Residency area at Sulphur Studios for her closing reception, part of Starland’s Very first Friday on September 3.

A Time to Heal, ON::Check out Artist in Residency at Sulphur Studios, 2301 Bull Street. Closing reception is Friday, September 3 from 5 to 9:00 p.m. The concluded group job will be displayed through Riner’s impending exhibition, Impermanence, at the Savannah Cultural Arts Middle Gallery in October.