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Life’s Inevitable Forces: Artwork by Tom Lightfoot

© 2009 T.R.Lightfoot


My recent work explores both the ravages and the exquisite beauty that come with age and experience. Our minds and bodies bend, flex, grow, bruise and break with life’s forces. The inevitable weathering and deterioration, while devastating in many respects, reveals an underlying beauty that surpasses the shallow surface beauty of the young and untested. The patina created by the natural forces of the world may even shine beyond the grave. Fascination with the mummies I photographed in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2008 brought clarity to ideas I had been exploring for the past few years. An extensive installation I created a few years ago dealt with the devastation of war. For one element of the piece I destroyed and attempted to restore a photograph with various manipulations on the computer. The result was a new image with cracks and tears that gave he photo a history that made it more intriguing. Subsequent artwork explored the potential of this idea in many ways. I took other photos, tore them and distressed them in many ways: then tried to restore them. Many of the results offered new ways of seeing the original subject. I, then, decided to try the same process with real objects. I took fall leaves that were deteriorating naturally and tried to restore them by bringing together many leaves fallen from the same tree. I photographed them and combined and blended them on the computer to make a composite leaf. The beauty of the resulting image was due to a mosaic created when the leaves came together filling-in each other’s cracks and faults. In a series of short video pieces, I distressed a small piece of wood in ways that can only be characterized as abusive. After beating, breaking, painting, baking, burning, burying, and soaking; I glued it back together and polished it up. Though all the damage is evident, that little piece of wood has a beauty no freshly milled piece of lumber could ever have. I continued to create work that, while not always involving stressing an object, always is a result of extensive layering and manipulation. Mixing a variety of media: watercolor, inkjet printing, copy machine toner, and various drawing materials provide the confluence of forces that suggest age and history in the final image. Throughout all of this work, I was more taken by the processes than by any underlying meaning. I appreciated the strange beauty of the final work and let it stand at that. It wasn’t until I became fascinated with the eerie beauty of the mummies of Mexico that the deeper meaning of my work began to reveal itself. While the natural ravages of time and ultimately death had taken its toll on these poor souls; the soil they were buried in preserved and mummified them. The drying and shrinking of the skin, the remnants of clothes and other artifacts exaggerated the bodies’ experiences. A beauty emanated from these bodies that showed the result of lives lived and now frozen in time. I hope you, too, see the beauty I find in these experiences.


Restoration of the leader’s portrait (from When Our Leader’s Speak installation)

© 2006 TR Lightfoot


Self Portraits 1-4

Š2007 TR Lightfoot


Red Leaf

© 2007 TR Lightfoot


Yellow Leaf

©2007 TR Lightfoot


Board #1

©2007 TR Lightfoot

The Last Board

©2007 TR Lightfoot


La Momia Cantante – 1

© 2009 TR Lightfoot


La Momia Cantante – 2

© 2009 TR Lightfoot


La Momia del Payaso

Š2009 TR Lightfoot


La Momia Pensitiva

Š2009 TR Lightfoot


La Momia de Griterio

Š2009 TR Lightfoot


La Momia del Deterioro

Š2009 TR Lightfoot


Lost in Thought

Š2009 TR Lightfoot


Green Fred

©2009 TR Lightfoot


Life's Inevitable Forces  

Artwork of Tom Lightfoot that explores the ravages and beauty of ageing. While natural forces take their toll on everything, these ravaging...

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