Del Rey Loven JFK Elegy

Del Rey Loven

JFK Elegy


Oil on Acrylic on Canvas

96 x 54 inches

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Notes on Elegy Paintings

JFK Elegy and RFK Elegy are meditations on the moment of death, in particular the deaths of two public figures of American life in the 1960s: President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

If there is one word that summarizes the experience of the 1960s for many Americans, it might be the word loss. With the tragic assassinations of the Kennedys and of Martin Luther King, Jr., the great sense of optimism and possibility with which the decade began was tragically lost. Death and the loss of heroes are twin themes within the elegiac tradition that I attempt to deal with in these paintings.

How would you pictorialize the moment of death? Throughout my work in the geometric abstract mode

I have often used geometric solids as representatives of human existence. These forms can be thought of as architectural, and it is understood in archaeology that evidence of architecture implies human existence. The figure/ground relationship is utilized as a metaphor of the relationship of the individual to the cosmos. In JFK Elegy and RFK Elegy I chose a pointillist technique of dots, not merely as style but for its ability to visualize the dissolution of a person that occurs at death. Thus we may be led by these paintings to reflect on that moment when the soul leaves the body and departs to some invisible realm. Such a moment is one of departure, loss and absence, yet an echo of each life remains.

The moment of death, and the experience of loss, absence and echo is what I have endeavored to address and evoke with these paintings.

- Del Rey Loven, 2017