Periodically, we invite well-known artists and arts professionals to create a Short List of some of their favorite artists in the BRIC Contemporary Artist Registry. This Short List was selected and compiled by BRIC's Curatorial Assistant, Sarah Simpson.
As summer draws to a close with the last languid days of vacation, memory seems to be a prevalent theme. The effect of the past, not only in how it was but how it is remembered, prevails constantly upon artists and viewers. An artist may choose to draw from his or her own memories for inspiration and subject matter, or try to share memories with the viewer, bringing the people and places of the past into the present work. Sometimes, spaces left unfulfilled or stories untold in a work can be left for viewers to fill in with their own memories, making every experience different. In the end, remembrance is a transient state that is often vague, filtered, and fleeting. Each of these seven artists rely upon memory, either their own or the viewers', to imbue their works with sentiment, history, and significance.
Inspired by the photo realist movement, Allison Edge's paintings are based on old family photographs. The faded, soft-edged remainders of childhood blur with her adolescent fantasies, which transpose and overlap the real moments and call to mind the indistinct nature of memory.
Danny Coeyman, in his series of clothing portraits, reappropriates the objects that trigger memories. His canvases are created by articles of clothing left by lost lovers and friends, not only sharing his intimate past, but also allowing viewers to reflect upon the people that have traveled through their lives and what they have left behind.
Ruby Amanze's minimalist but tender works on paper touch on the concept of memory without physical stability. Lacking a definite home or any object to recall a life lived, Amanze assembles her space through her idea of what a home entails: a picket fence, a door, a window. Leaving these objects to float in space, they conjure the recollection of belonging without owning it.
Melissa Zexter hand sews embroidery over black-and-white photographs, adding layers that exist outside the bounds of the initial moment. The labor-intensive process of embroidery on top of a photograph that captures a fleeting instant is reminiscent of how a memory can be filtered and prolonged in the mind as it is remembered.
Through his participatory sculptures, Adrian Viajero Roman shares the process of remembering and cultural memory. By assembling images and objects from the past that embody a culture, Roman creates a space where the audience can enter another consciousness and experience the collective memories that reside there.
Lovina Purple also recalls collective memory in her abstract paintings, but she focuses on globally recognized environmental and political tragedies. Her paintings are an abstraction of how a singular event can be known and felt by the international community, but quickly forgotten by those not directly affected.
Matthew Hassell attempts to trigger memories through his reductive abstractions. The simple lines created by the snap-line on cut panel appear different depending on the viewer's physical position before the work. The different memories and mindsets of the viewers will evoke different reactions and emotions to the present work.
Memories can be triggered in many different ways, through a smell, a picture, a once lost piece of clothing, or a sound. Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, or Rembrance of Things Past, is a written version of this phenomenon, where the author walks us through a litany of memories triggered by a myriad of small occurrences. Like Proust, the above seven artists attempt to share their memories and the significant objects that trigger them, thusly drawing viewers in through a subtle but universal sensation.
Written by Sarah Simpson