Coral Woodbury

Coral Woodbury '93

(American, born 1971)

Knot, 2014

Oil, ashes, gouache on paper

Courtesy of the artist

Artist's Statement:

Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of repairing ceramics with gold. In

the process, something damaged becomes more precious. How like

us, don't you think, that through our pain and mending we become

more beautiful? Recently, that notion of tending cracks and tears

guides my hands. So, too, does the need to record illusive ghosts. The

brittle wisps of dried tulips; the irreducible tangle of knotted fishing

line – impossible to keep entirely in single focus; the hollow folds of

an old shirt, empty of its wearer; the spine (or mind or heart) invisibly

re-knitting itself after trauma. These are delicate and fine things we

cannot hold. Like found drawings, or lines wrought in the environment

by suspended wires, or fissures in stone walls, or meandering tar

patches on pavement caught by sunlight – all involuntary marks left

by the unconscious generosity of humans or nature. These varied gifts

are source material for a body of work that captures the fleeting, the

delicate, and the lost, and then strives to repair what is broken.

My current work is driven by grief for my friend who died in my arms

from an overdose on heroin. I emptied his apartment and one-by-one

am painting and honoring the things that represent my remaining ties

to him. His ghostly belongings are screened and inaccessible behind

veils and barriers. Art has become my solace and my call to action. I

have begun work as an artist-in-residence with the recovery community

and am beginning a public memorial space/sculpture project for all who

have been lost to this horrific epidemic.


Last Updated: 9/29/22