Artwork / Swollen / Another Year

before and after portraits of an old woman
Gwenn Seemel
Before and After: Another Year
2006 and 2007
acrylic on bird’s eye piqué
30 x 54 inches (combined dimensions)

Before I met the subject of this diptych, I didn’t realize how much I was missing out on by never having met my American grandmother. Though my Mamy was full of all sorts of fascinating stories about growing up in France during World War II and about our family’s role in resisting the Germans, I missed out on hearing more about American history firsthand. Happily, the subject of these portraits filled me in by telling of delivering moonshine as a child during Prohibition.

What follows is the text originally displayed with Before and after: Another year. It describes the earth change that I chose as an analogy for this woman's transition.

Scientists believe that one day our sun will expend all the hydrogen in its core. As it consumes the remainder of its fuel, the sun will swell and eventually explode, incinerating the earth. We don’t really know for sure quite what will come or when, but, until then, we will keep on living.

painterly portrait
detail image
painterly portrait
detail image