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Erin Briggs

Last Seen

2010, Oil on wood panel, 96"w x 60"h

A person goes missing and an emotional stand-off begins volleying between time and hope, destroying those who are left behind. This piece began as an exploration of this phenomenon and of the convoluted relationship thatelapsed time has on the existence of a person. When individuals have been missing for an extended period of time, hope of their return diminishes and they become more of an abstract idea than a concrete being. I began to approach painting the missing people of Canada in a systematic way, in which the length of time I spent on each portrait was inversely proportional to the amount of time the person has been missing. Those who have been missing for 75 years are portrayed as little more than a brush stroke and those who have gone missing yesterday, fresh and full of detail. Through this process, I found myself in an emotional struggle. Spending time with these anonymous faces and their unfinished stories, I found myself getting to know them, recognizing them for perhaps who they were or who they could have been. Instead of answering the questions I began with about the complexities of being missing, I have found myself in a similar place to those left behind — stuck between feelings of hopelessness and the perpetual fear of giving up hope.

Erin Briggs - Last Seen

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