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time had ceased to exist for me. Now time had returned, and it was not a matter of days but of seconds, 5" x 7.5" (13 x 19cm), acrylic, graphite, ink, collage, found text and imitation gold leaf on century-old book cover, 2018.

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Untitled Drawing, 5" x 7" (13 x 18 cm), graphite and Watercolor on paper from 1930, 2017.

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There's something behind all this disturbance--something I don't understand, 7.5" x 10" (19 x 25cm), acrylic, graphite, ink, collage, found text and faux gold leaf on 1912 book cover & inside page, 2017.

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Untitled Drawing, 5" x 7" (13 x 18 cm), graphite on century-old paper, 2017.

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its hard work to untie knots, 4" x 6" (10 x 15 cm), graphite, ink, acrylic, faux gold leaf, collage and found text on century-old paper, 2017.

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Other fragments of himself made their appearance,6" x 7.5" (15 x 19 cm), graphite, ink, acrylic, copper leaf, collage and found text on century-old paper, 2018.

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Before a thousand peering littlenesses, 3" x 5" (8 x 13 cm), graphite, ink, acrylic, copper leaf, collage and found text on vintage religious pamphlet page, 2018.

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Disband himself and scatter all his powers, 3" x 5" (8 x 13 cm), graphite, ink, acrylic, faux gold leaf, collage and found text on paper from century-old bible, 2017.

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Untitled Mixed Media Drawing, 5" x 7" (13 x 18 cm), graphite and Watercolor on vintage paper, 2017.

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and the soul returns unto a life, 2.5" x 4" (6 x 10cm), graphite, ink, acrylic, faux silver leaf, vintage religious medal, collage and found text on vintage paper, 2018.

heather-watts-afterlife-art-deer-spirits

Ahead of her lay all manner of unknown terrors and strangeness, 7" x 9.5" (18 x 24cm), acrylic, graphite, ink, collage, found text and copper leaf on photograph reproduction, 2019.

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years of his existence seemed to be sponged from his mind like yesterday, 8.5" x 11" (22 x 28cm), acrylic, graphite, ink, collage, found text and imitation gold leaf on century-old sheet music cover, 2019.

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Title: From less and less and vanish into light,5.75" x 8.25" (15 x 21cm), acrylic, graphite, ink, collage, found text and imitation gold leaf on 1930s hymnal book page, 2019.

You Drift Away Closer and Closer:

Fieldnotes from the Post-Religious Afterlife

…to him the wall / That sunders ghosts and shadow-casting men / Became a crystal, and he saw them thro’ it, / And heard their voices talk behind the wall, / And learnt their elemental secrets, powers / And forces;

Alfred Lord Tennyson

You Drift Away Closer and Closer is a mixed media collection whose lexicon of imagery is intended for those navigating loss in the absence of religious and cultural traditions.  Its purpose is not to promote a specific narrative around life after death, but to explore the connective tissue and space between narratives, allowing for many (indeed any) possibilities–including that the afterlife may forever remain unknown to us or even that there is no afterlife at all.  

As our society confronts increasing global change and uncertainty, our ability to transcend stories and grieve together matters.  You Drift Away Closer and Closer is an invitation into grief as an expression of our shared humanity, a step towards reclaiming our collective capacity to mourn and be reborn.