Biography – Leaves

Eric Rhein
Frank the Visionkeeper (Frank Moore 1956-2002)
(from Leaves, an AIDS Memorial)
2013, wire and paper, 16”x13”x2”

1. There are more than 300 individuals represented in Leaves. I say more than 300 because I know that there are more than 300, but it’s  challenging for me to keep track. 
When I started the project in 1996 I set out to keep making tribute for everyone I knew to die from complications from AIDS going forward. That is how it’s grown to represent so many. I’ve held on to this concept, though I haven’t been able to keep up. So – I have a backlog of people to make leaves for. Some of this is in my head – some on scraps of paper. . . Over time I hope to be able to back track and fill in those I’ve yet to do. This is yet to be seen. There are corresponding aspects that I am behind in – Like writing biographies for those represented, and other texts. I could use some grant money and assistance / interns to help with these things. 

2. I use all kinds of leaves – not just Maples. If you look at the images of Leaves I’ve sent you, or on my website, you’ll see all species of leaves representing individuals. I don’t think of the species of tree representing the individuals, as much of some nuance of the leaf. On some occasions, though, a species may come into play – like with Frank Moore (Frank the Visionary), he is represented by a Oak Leaf – as he was a strong formative figure. The imperfections (holes) in Frank’s leaf suggest to me some vulnerability, and physical challenges he went through. 

3. There is a “Public List” of names (if incomplete) on my website, and in a few publications. Whenever any works from Leaves are exhibited, or published, I have the names of the piece included in the titling. As the project itself is evolving and incomplete. so is the list of names. You can see a list on my website.

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