Ophelia, Gregory Crewdson, 2001
Been looking at a lot of Jeff Wall stuff lately and Crewdson has obviously led on from that… I’ve been getting really into this idea of the constructed image, and particularly these reimagined images from history. Crewdson has brought this idea of mental instability crashing forward into modern day America. The idea of drowning in suburbia is brilliant - all of Millais’ soft ambient lighting discarded in favour of the Hollywood glow.
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. The light that morning seemed weak, almost fragile. It was one of those winter days where everything feels as if it is underwater – cold and slow and infinitely quiet. I remember sitting beside my grandmother’s bed and watching her breathe laboriously. Time hung suspended for hours – nothing to mark its passing except the cycles of her inhalations, each breath exhaled a precursor to her last. A few hours later a cloud went over the sun and the light gently ebbed from the room. My grandmother coughed quietly, and then sighed. As she finally became completely still it started to snow. We sat with her for a while, and then my mother and aunt went to make the necessary phone calls. I went outside to look at the garden. It was intensely quiet – the air felt thick, heavy with cold. Outside her window the ground was covered in tiny bird footprints. I remember looking back over my shoulder at the house and seeing my mother standing at the window, watching the snow and crying.
A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long.