Paintings About Memory’s Possibilities
We often try to ‘dredge something up’ from the past as if we might find it on the bottom of our minds’ seemingly endless lists of names, events, places, and dreams. While the way down into those depths may seem crystal clear at first, by the time we are mucking around on the bottom of our minds the search can become increasingly challenging. Even with the myriad digital prompts that seem to be constantly volunteering their guidance from our computers and devices, the where-did-I put-it of filing things is still primarily our own doing. While we strive to pride ourselves on the vast and efficient realm of our digital world, the actual recall is, more often than not, still our responsibility. No matter how fast the system promises to be, our human component is still the lynchpin.
The death of language is a frequent topic at seminars and in cultural studies. The over-riding issue is often that as languages become extinct, the remainder of our communications also suffer. Each language has cross-pollinated with others, so that the disappearance of vocabulary is felt in subtle ways worldwide. Since language has always allowed for our increase in memory – even to the degree that the earliest developments of our cranial capacity grew to accommodate our growing brains – it may often be words that we are searching for when we try to remember things.
As we have named things, we have names. Sometimes we tell ourselves, ‘I must get better at remembering names just as soon as I meet someone.’ Undoubtedly, there are books, or online resources that will grant us this ability with a minimum of effort. But we usually only remember our untended resolution the next time a stranger introduces themselves. And later, of course, we are back at the recall dredge trying to come up with the name. All this might seem like a minor issue when one considers the slow collapse of memory that is one of the promised curses of aging.
Since as we learn anything, we must also remember it, our progress through life is determined in a large part by our agility and ability of recall. We have ways of creating filters and categories as mnemonic aids, but in some cases, our filters cannot override content we wish to forget. The loud and lurid often has a way of etching itself on our consciousness and, like the loud person in the room, commanding our attention whether we wish it or not.
Where it all goes and how we get it back, in what form, with how much detail and precision, is the subject of these paintings. No particular message is intended but instead there is an attempt to create a setting for many of the ideas expressed above. Hopefully they will have a quiet, but memorable impact that the viewer will retain.
Another advertisement of ideas...