“Death Becomes Her” by Alexandra N Sherman

The “Death Becomes Her” collages explore fashion, human nature, and climate change. These collages were a response to my personal feelings of existential dread and sparked when I received a gift of an 1894 women’s fashion magazine. This periodical was a fascinating window into the past that included the latest fabulous fashions of the day but also a lot of bad advice for women, much of it authored by men, regarding their health and numerous opinions about how they should conduct themselves.

Quite distinct from the existential dread that was provoked by the pandemic and the at times all-consuming melancholia that envelops me concerning climate change and our collective failure to do much of anything to avert it, this series was the result of a fresh wave of dread caused by Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine.

These collages are my way of dealing with the great sadness I feel over these senseless and terrible acts of violence and destruction. If feels as if we are standing on the precipice of WW III.  The political climate is too similar to that of the period leading to outbreak of WWII to be ignored. We are divided and this is how we will fall if we continue down this path.

It felt empowering and liberating to cast death as a woman outside of her normal life-giving role. She is dressed impeccably, her posture perfect, a complete lady, and she is your inexorable fate, especially if you fail to act.

Sometimes when everything seems awful and absolutely hopeless the only way to carry on is to laugh. I hope these works will provide a moment of mirth in these dark times, even if it is from the perspective of the gallows.