Megan Van Wagoner / Art



Breathing, Not Breathing, 2021–present

This body of work came about as a response to the COVID pandemic but I realize now that I had been thinking about death long before. I first began documenting death in 2018 when my father passed away at home with me. A few months later I was present for the death of a close family friend. These were my first up close experiences with the process as an adult. I observed a peace I had not previously known.

When the pandemic began, it was not just the deaths caused by the virus that struck me, but also the death I began to notice in the time of quiet isolation that came with the pandemic. It was the deaths of wild birds, recently hatched chicks, insects, and small mammals. These events might have previously gone unnoticed, but I was keenly aware that nothing lives forever and that is as it should be. To hold on tight to life is not productive. Rather we should embrace the energy released back into the world by death. I hope the beauty of these images and objects harnesses that energy and opens viewers to contemplation.

Crest Fallen, 2021 Crest Fallen, installed, 2021 Lightly Being or Not, 2024 Her Thoughts Tickling Mine, 2024 Reflective Mourning, 2023 Hatched Whispers, 2023 Resting Clutch, 2024 Resting Clutch, detail 2024 Perpetual Dusk, 2021 Perpetual Dusk, installed, 2021