by Sara Kay Maston [Visual Art]

Artist Statement

My sense of empathy towards other living beings can be traced from the death of my mother and growing up with a close familiarity to loneliness. Visiting the cemetery one Mother’s Day, as my father wiped away the dust that had settled in my mother’s etched portrait, I observed the polished granite stone embedded in the grass becoming a perfect reflection of the sky. In the painting Mother (2017-2018), the reflection is transformed as a matte surface wherein I thought about a literal hole in the ground — either a practical hole dug to house or nurture a living animal, or a ceremonial hole dug to encompass a dead human body. At the same time, I also attempted to render a void in the painting by contemplating the space left from the absence of a person, picturing the intangible lack of their presence long after their body has decayed.


Sara Kay Maston was born in Toronto to Chinese and American artist parents. From the death of her mother at an early age, Maston has speculated on the vantage points of nonhuman animals to uncover alternative forms of knowledge about the conventions of dying and the experiences of corporeal life.

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