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In January 2017 I began an investigation of  addition and subtraction in relationship to concepts of minimalism and maximalism which looked at birth and death. I built and stretched three 44" x 63" canvases and then used a four-inch wide brush to drag six colors sequentially across the surface of the canvas. With the birth of each additional color came the death of a portion or the previous colors, shapes, and spaces.

At the time, I was reading about the seventeenth-century deathbed performances outlined in books intended to teach people how to "Pass away in a dignified and Christian fashion," a pre-death technique presented in several mid fifteenth century books referencing The Ars moriendi, ("The Art of Dying") a practice intended to perfect the performance of dying, or- as I was thinking of it in this case, the subtraction of life.

Do foundational systems of math stem from our perception of life and death, where birth is addition and death subtraction? 

N I N A  A. I S A B E L L E 

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