“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it,” Joan Didion wrote in A Year of Magical Thinking.
Many of us are blind to the realities of loss and mourning until we’re confronted with it head on, whether in the face of a devastating news headline, a lifeless animal on the side of the road, or the life-altering loss of a loved one. There are many, if not infinite shapes that loss can take, and the impressions they make upon us are just as varied.
“There is no real way to deal with everything we lose,” Didion continues, and yet we, as humans, continue to find ways to cope. For centuries, artists have turned to their work to address feelings of anger, confusion, fear, sadness, hope and love. While no painting, photograph or object can ever mend the holes that materialize in our hearts, the following artworks address loss in ways that attempt to begin the healing process, however long it may take.