and then the snow made sense, 2003
Construction and origami paper
144 x 120 inches

Snow is a symbol of Winter. Winter, in turn, is symbolic of death. Life is a cycle, and death, whether we wish to admit it or not, is an inevitable part of this cycle. We are not perfect. We die.

and the snow made sense is made entirely from ordinary paper. It will, over time, fade if placed near sunlight. Each element is hand-cut using the Japanese paper cutting technique called Kirigami, which westerners know as “making paper snowflakes.” Each color represents a level of existence. The black shapes are the black void of nothingness, the grey are rock, the brown masses are terra firma, and the greens are flora. The greens evolve from simpler forms into more complicated ones at higher elevations. The entire landscape evolves into the more ephemeral blue sky form at the top. The floral elements are “snow", and the snow is floral, in this piece, reminding us all that one can not exist without the other.

A favorite mythological story is that of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth and harvest and therefore responsible for the growth of plants and crops. One day, Pluto, god of the Underworld, found Persephone alone. He kidnapped her and took her down to Hades. When Demeter discovered that her daughter was missing, she stopped taking care of the crops, which withered and died as she searched for Persephone. Eventually, Demeter discovered that Persephone was in Hades. She pleaded with Zeus to make Pluto release her daughter. The gods also wanted Zeus to persuade Pluto because the humans would starve without any crops. Zeus ordered Pluto to free Persephone, as long as she hadn't eaten any food in Hades. Just before he set her free, Pluto tempted Persephone to eat three pomegranate seeds from his garden. Because Persephone had eaten these three seeds, she has to spend three months of the year in the Underworld. So, every year when Persephone is in hell, Demeter is sad and lets the plants die. When Persephone returns to earth, her mother is happy and tends the plants so they bloom and flourish.