Delia Robinson
The Haunted Notebook
Acrylic, reverse collage on canvas, sewn
5' tall x 8' long
This painting was made in honor of my friend and this statement accompanied it when it was shown.

The Haunted Notenook: The Life and Art of Laura Nelkin, 1957-2001

In scenes repeated throughout history, survivors fleeing advancing armies report that the roadsides rapidly become littered with deserted belongings. As the strength of the refugees fail them, the relative importance of possessions is reevaluated. At first the discarded items are insignificant but their value increases over distance. Household objects give way to personal possessions such as journals and photo albums and extra clothing. Eventually valuable treasures, jewelry, and even small children are reclassified as impediments and are abandoned by the roadside.

My attic served as just such a place to jettison possessions in a friend's run from death. Haunted by depression and an urge to destroy herself, she sold her furniture and domestic items in a yard sale, abandoned extra clothing at one person’s house, and her sketchbooks and photo albums with me. The last things she gave away were her beloved cats. Finally with nothing left, she was overtaken in flight and died by her own hand.

In making a survey of her discarded art and snapshots of her life, this painting demanded expression. I hoped to suggest the pain of her flight and the puzzling mystery of a vital, gifted, loving person reduced to a box of photos and sketchbooks.

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