"Robert Mapplethorpe," 1996
wire on paper, 12" x 9"
From the artist: Rhein draws on his Southern gothic heritage to explore the connections between human nature and the spiritual worlds with pieces created from wire, paper, jewelry, discarded bottle caps, gears and crystals. His "Leaf Project" pays tribute to people he has known who've died of AIDS; this particular piece honors renowned photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
Why we chose this piece: The unusual medium Rhein uses to honor those who've succumbed to AIDS is so intriguing. His message is simple but powerful: Each leaf on a tree is unique, just as every human being the world has lost to this dreadful disease is.