These pictures are essentially portraits. Each one depicts a fragment of a dead leaf or twig I found on the ground, took home and copied with meticulous detail in watercolor and acrylic. They measure about six inches tall, and most are mounted in artist-made boxes built with the help of master woodworker Robert Mason. They appear more as fragile artifacts or scientific specimens than as painted images on paper or canvas.
For metaphoric purposes, some of them are named for vanished cities and empires around the world. Others are named after residents of Brooklyn's Green Wood Cemetery. The broken decayed leaves and twigs are meant to stand in for the mortal remains of people buried there: a broad cross-section of humanity that includes rich and poor, young and old, male and female.... The emaciated cruciform shapes of the leaves and sticks, I think, can invite comparisons with the human body. The ubiquity and anonymity of the leaves make issues of mortal identity seem superficial. Modern precedents for this body of work might include Giorgio Morandi and Agnes Martin, who also gave an air of contemplative quietude to their work.