Memento Mori was a retrospective exhibition of Tina Mion’s art work featured at the Coconino Center for the Arts from June 17 through September 6, 2014. The show displayed many of Tina’s paintings and other work spanning back to the early 90’s. The exhibition focused around her works concerning the topic of death. It was the first showing of many recent works including the highly anticipated “Carry Us All” painting, Mion’s largest piece ever created. “Carry Us All” is a large pentaptych painting spanning over 20 feet long and encompassing the final wall of the exhibition.
One of the highlights of the exhibition was “The Spectacular Death Spoons” a series of 4 paintings that expertly illustrate the humorous side of Tina’s artistic approach.
A massive exhibition, it is unlike anything ever accomplished in the Coconino Center for the Arts. Visitors have come from all over to see Tina’s work and in unprecedented numbers to hear her speak at gallery talks scheduled through out the exhibition.
About the Exhibition
“Memento Mori” is Latin for “remember that you will die”. Memento Mori paintings were common in Europe and throughout the world until the last century. They were not meant to scare but to remind viewers to make the most of their brief lives. This exhibition of Tina Mion’s Memento Mori drawings and paintings took the viewer on a journey of artistic and spiritual exploration: what is our place in the world? What IS death? What – if anything – comes after?
The subjects of Mion’s Memento Mori included the lives of humans, of animals and of life on our planet. She wove into her work references to American history, world religions, science, and current issues such as the right to die.
About Tina Mion
Tina and her husband moved to northern Arizona in 1997 to purchase and restore La Posada – architect Mary Colter’s masterpiece. They have created a thriving and nationally renowned hotel, restaurant and cultural mecca in the high desert of Winslow, Arizona.
Mion’s work is in many collections including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City MO, both of which own her Memento Mori paintings. Rather than being dark and scary her work is beautifully executed, poignant, and full of wry humor. She lived part of her childhood in an abandoned funeral home in New Jersey. Perhaps this helps explain why she has been thinking and painting about death for more than two decades.
Her works range from small intricate pastel drawings to 8 x 23’ oil paintings. Her work has been used in university classes on death and dying. Her monumental triptych A New Years Party in Purgatory was featured in an American Public Media national radio special on suicide. She has been a featured speaker around the country including at the University of Chicago, Phoenix Art Museum and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., where her work was recently on display for the third time.