A Bird for Brian
Thomas Brodhead – American, born 1968 – A Bird for Brian –2014 – acrylic on canvas – 30" x 36" x 0.75" (76.2cm x 91.44cm x 1.91cm)
Brian loved the beauty of birds: their song, their flight, their colors. While it was impossible during his lifetime for him to be spliced with a bird—the greatest transformation he could have hoped for—he received inspiration for a different, posthumous transformation after learning about the creepy compression of cremains into diamonds to be worn as fashion accessories by survivors. Brian’s last will and testament instructed his cremains to be mixed with paint pigments and a painting to be rendered with them. Artist Thomas Brodhead was selected after a multinational search resulted in no other takers (the creepiness factor was largely to blame), and the resulting work is here displayed. In a world comparable with the stained glass windows of only the gaudiest of Christian churches, Brian expresses ecstasy at the presentation of a large bird, its beak opening wide, perhaps in song. Unexplained in the painting is the suggestion of an amorphous Minotaurian beast occupying most of the painting’s lower right-hand corner. It is perhaps a reminder that just as Brian eventually faced his own mortality, so shall his ephemeral bird of paradise be consumed within the food chain, but as long as the painting is maintained, Brian shall live on in artistic immortality.