Current scientific thought informs us that each time we remember something it is re-filed as a new memory, Over time, the details change and what we remember may have no basis as "fact". Memory is based upon a few illuminated points, while the details are filled in on the fly – and we aren't even aware of it. It feels like the memory is true, but most likely what is remembered is not the actuality.
Remembrance – the sharp immediacy of now has passed, and that has receded into then. The human mind softens the past, removing the sharp edges and thorns – a rosy glow permeates. Memories of unpleasantness can be pleasurable, even humorous. Some of our memories are treasured, kept sparkling through repetition and ritual, we use these treasures to explain ourselves to ourselves. All of us, adrift on the Sea of Forgetting called Life, burnished by time and nature, our memories become talismans of who we are. To lose our memories is to disappear into nothingness.
These works are not depictions of the actual memory of an instance. They function more as skeletons, or mental armatures, that support a thin skin of memories replayed many times. They speak of remembrance. I give form to the idea of memory; of physical things that harken to the totems that wash ashore in our interior landscape. Driftwood or bones – stripped of the living layers and relegated to reminders of what once was.
There is poetry in this series, a forgivingness, a letting go and accepting what comes next. Although I feel like I’ve included in these works a certain resistance, of not forgetting and letting go, and that’s just my nature. The colors of Fall emerge to place these memories far enough away that they can be re-lived with an air of nostalgia, a mourning for then & when. A quiet narrative told through worn textures and colors.
The steel is pounded, twisted, bent, smashed, torqued, wrestled, wrenched, hammered, beaten, coaxed, cut, folded, torn, riveted, welded.
There is no undoing a smashed metal tube or crumpled sheet-metal, the evidence of the action is impressed into its physical presence, and in this way the metal shows memory of the past.
The steel is then covered in layers of torn paper and glue, which softens and smooths the form, encasing, blending, and preserving it.
The paper is ripped, torn, glued, layered, sanded, spray-painted, sanded, steel-wooled, painted, steel-wooled, painted, and the final steel-wooling.
The paper & glue creates a distance from the raw physicality of the making. There are monotonous days of sitting – applying strips of dipped-in-glue brown paper one by one. It is with feelings of amazement that I watch the paper skin slowly envelope the rough-scratchy steel and turn it into something that has never existed before. Hours spent sanding and coloring; I touch every inch of this work multiple times. The surface is polished smooth and soft through frequent handling – like the effect of time upon memory. The touch of these is like polished wood.
"You'll always have the memory," is not quite true, as a photocopy of a photograph is not the photo. Information and nuance are lost to the processes of the mind. We can't help it. The inner story of our lives becomes a narrative of increasing smoothness.
What I remember the memory to be – memory of the memory of the memory –