ISSUED: 29 August 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Phaze 2 Gallery is hosting a workshop with New Orleans artist Katrina Brees that will encourage participants to reimagine the funeral. During the workshop, which will take place Thursday, September 14, at 1 p.m. in the gallery, Brees will explore the creative possibilities of funeral practices from around the world and throughout history. She will encourage participants to be inspired by the possibility of planning their own fantasy funeral, to undertake a fresh approach, and to develop a new understanding about death and what is most important in life.
“Funeral rituals provide us guidance for our actions and emotions in an effort to find the familiar in moments of chaos, but how do we know if they are still functioning effectively in our modern mourning experience?” Brees asked. “I hope through the workshop and exhibition we can empower ourselves creatively, spiritually, and financially to examine our cultural approach to death and discover better ways for it to serve us as individuals.”
Brees is taking part in a North Mountain Residency, a program located on a 400-acre retired apple farm in Berkeley County’s Back Creek Valley that supports creative practices by encouraging research, conversation, and risk-taking. Her work is currently on exhibit in the Phaze 2 Gallery.
The exhibit, “Fantastic Casket: Undertaking a Fresh Approach to Death,” is an ongoing installation that will grow over several weeks. It will feature fantastical, hand-made caskets and will include photographic documentation of artist performances. The concept is based on funerary rituals and practices in different cultures and the exhibition format is designed to suggest a lifespan. The exhibit will start with a blank gallery and Brees will be there at times constructing casket sculptures, allowing visitors the opportunity to talk to her.
The exhibit will culminate in a closing reception after the workshop on September 14 from 4-7 p.m. Both the workshop and reception are free and open to the public. For more information and to reserve a space in the workshop, contact Evan Boggess, adjunct art professor and gallery manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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