George Bedell, “By Mourning Tongues”

February 06, 2024
02:30 PM - 04:30 PM
La Plata Campus, Fine Arts Center, Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery

Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery - George Bedell
January 12 – March 8
Gallery Talk - February 6  |  2:30 p.m.

 George Bedell art piece‘“By Mourning Tongues” explores literary and historical references to rituals of memorialization that have inspired me.  One recurring visual symbol is the boat – borrowed from a few sources, but most especially from the Sutton Hoo ship burial. 

The ship burial itself has always been a powerful symbol to me, but that ship delivered something tangible to us as well, as the source of one of the best-preserved copies of Beowulf.

It seemed appropriate, then, that I would explore the funerary rituals from the Beowulf text.  I found inspiration in many other places, from Homer’s description of Hector’s funeral pyre to W.H. Auden’s remembrance of the passing of W.B. Yeats.

I made this work in the spring of 2020, while on a sabbatical that ended up overlapping with – something else. In a time of darkness brought on by the pandemic, I found it strangely uplifting to reflect on the timelessness of the challenge of facing our mortality. 

Our physical frailty and our impermanence help make us what we are.  Over eons, humans have tried to make peace with our impermanence through ritual and remembrance, and in the process, have created images and poems both sublime and enduring.'

This event is free and open to the public.

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