Karen Bondarchuk

Ergo Sum: A Crow a Day

I began this series on August 1, 2014, as a way to honor my mother who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I chose to create a crow drawing every day for 365 days as a way of marking time that she no longer seems to recognize. Crows have figured largely in my work for several years and represent both the quotidian and the extraordinary (akin to the Buddhist notion of “ordinary magic”). The labor that went into producing each of the 365 panels – cutting the wood, preparing my own gesso from gelatin and powdered limestone, building up layers and sanding between coats in preparation for the actual process of creating an image – seemed to evoke the overwhelming labor and repetitious activities of motherhood.

To me the series is simultaneously a marker of her lost time and a constant and acute reminder of my own days, my life, and an attempt to signal visually the preciousness and individuality of each day. As such, quirky cheer and serendipity came to inhabit many of the panels, however more sober the project seemed to me at its outset.

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© Karen Bondarchuk