"Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation
Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation November 10 - December 22, 2017
Installation View, The Sculpture Center, Cleveland
Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence
November 10 - December 22, 2017
photo credit: Jacob Koestler

This exhibition aimed to memorialize but also materialize the sense of space, time and physicality suggested by some texts my twenty year old son, Christian, a college student and aspiring poet, who committed suicide in 2012. After walking a path for two miles along a railroad track beside the Cuyahoga River, he knelt by the track and waited for an oncoming freight train. The installation was designed to encourage movement by viewers in order to better grasp various aspects, such as text, while slowing down their perception and absorption of the grouped components. I chose a devastatingly beautiful poem that speaks of the exhiliration he imagined his death would grant him, along with other texts that show him at a low ebb as he struggled with constant pain from Bell’s Palsy. The installation had a number of discrete components grouped in close proximity including a low, U shaped 5.25” wide steel channel, 15” off the floor, painted an intense ultamarine blue with laser cut text on its sides, that ran the entire length of the 43 foot long gallery:

In that moment when my skin becomes one
With the graffitied train
I listen by rivers
That place where I belong
My eyes sail like driftwood
To become one with the color blue
And give up my body
To that sweetness which is neither pleasure nor pain
Which is nameless
Which is me
My skin the graffitied train
My shadow walking upon water
And I am nothing
But the color blue
Unaware of myself and dancing
In that naked sky nirvana
Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation November 10 - December 22, 2017
Installation View, The Sculpture Center, Cleveland
Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence
November 10 - December 22, 2017
photo credit: Jacob Koestler

Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation 96.5 x 39.75 x 5.75 inches
Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence, 2017
cast bronze, acrylic sheet
96.5 x 39.75 x 5.75 inches
photo credit: Jacob Koestler



A door, based loosely on early 20th century mauseleum doors in the
extraordinary Lakeview cemetery near my Cleveland, Ohio home, was fabricated from transparent ultramarine blue and dark grey plexiglas.,The text 'screaming voicelessly to a distant silence' was inscribed onto its surface. A black patined, cast bronze door handle was also attached. The work’s mirror like surface reflected any viewer looking at it.
Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation 96.5 x 39.75 x 5.75 inches
Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence, 2017 (detail)
cast bronze, acrylic sheet
96.5 x 39.75 x 5.75 inches
photo credit: Jacob Koestler

detail showing inscribed text and cast bronze handle

Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation 63 x 98.5 inches
I Wanna Be Pure, 2017
jacquard weaving
63 x 98.5 inches
photo credit: Jacob Koestler

at left: An aerosol spray drawing by my son has been ovelaid on top of a Jim Carroll book cover. The drawing quotes the author, who was my son’s favorite writer: “I wanna be pure.”

'My Only Path', can be seen on the right.
Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation 3 x 78.5 x 133 inches
My Only Path, 2017
steel, acrylic sheet, fabric, flashe paint
3 x 78.5 x 133 inches
photo credit: Jacob Koestler

The text reads

MY ONLY PATH
ONE OF PAIN
SWEET SUGARY DEPRESSING PAIN

My son was at a low ebb when he wrote this as he struggled with constant pain from Bell’s Palsy.

Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation
Quiet Gutter Birthday Curb , 2017
black patinated bronze, pigmented hydrocal, felt
photo credit: Jacob Koestler

Quiet Gutter Birthday Curb , 2017
black patinated bronze, pigmented hydrocal, felt

Quiet Gutter Birthday Curb was the title my son gave to a xeroxed spiral bound collection of his poems. These words are laid out in a scrabble like arrangement of individual letters on a grey felt rug, each having been individually inscribed and cast into rounded, 3.5 inch wide, dark grey, hydrostone discs. A black patined, bronze cast of this book is laid out on the lower right corner of the rug. This cast may be seen as a marker for a life cut short.
Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation
The text of my son's poem, laser-cut into the sides of the blue steel trough running the length of the gallery

Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation
The text of my son's poem, laser-cut into the sides of the blue steel trough running the length of the gallery
Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation
The text of my son's poem, laser-cut into the sides of the blue steel trough running the length of the gallery
photo credit: Jacob Koestler

Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation
The text of my son's poem, laser-cut into the sides of the blue steel trough running the length of the gallery
photo credit: Jacob Koestler
Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation
The text of my son's poem, laser-cut into the sides of the blue steel trough running the length of the gallery
photo credit: Jacob Koestler

Paul O'Keeffe "Screaming Voicelessly to a Distant Silence" Installation
The text of my son's poem, laser-cut into the sides of the blue steel trough running the length of the gallery
photo credit: Jacob Koestler