Jason Bard Yarmosky /forma mentis
ELDER KINDER 2011
Elder Kinder pays homage to the idea that age is not a deterrent to living fully, but rather a springboard for exploration. My paintings examine the relationship between the limitations of social norms and the freedom to explore, particularly the juxtaposition between the young and old. The carefree nature that is associated with youth often gives way to borders and boundaries placed on adult behavior. As we transition from adult to elderly, these raw freedoms often reemerge. As a child you learn to walk; later in life we learn to unwalk, literally and metaphorically. However, the dreams of the young, often sublimated by the years, never really disappear.
I choose to explore this theme with two people very close to me, my eighty-four year old grandparents. The process of aging has always intrigued me. The lack of permanence in life and the inevitability of aging has always been on my mind growing up. I am also interested in how people, in both mind and body, respond to the passage of time. As Madeleine L’Engle said, “The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”
The resulting paintings capture the intersection of the battered body and the vibrant soul. The images in this series can be seen as either humiliating or empowering. The pessimist sees the images through the lens of shame and vulnerability, weighed down by social convention. The optimist sees a sense of liberation, where an adolescent’s playfulness and the freedom to dream complement the wisdom of old age.