Remnants, Remainders, Remains
This series examines issues related to memory, focusing on distortion, hoarding, and phobia. As an artist working with traditional painting and drawing mediums, primarily oil paints and charcoal, I use experimental erasure techniques to manipulate and distort my working surface and otherwise representational imagery. The issues I explore are entangled both in the form and content of the work. Formally, the pieces elide the work-as-product and the work-as-process, allowing the finished product to have a material memory of its making. The pieces play off of the viewer’s longing for clarity. Images emerge but only slightly, only in distortion. Meaning is made out of tensions, out of longing, out of a nostalgia that provides less each time it’s called upon.
More specifically, the subject matter I am currently exploring concentrates on the twisted irony of memory hoarding. Memory hording is an obsessive-compulsive condition in which the sufferer over attends to memories of uncertain value, constantly recalling significant events in their mind, in fear of being unable to truly appreciate a moment after it passes, in fear of losing details from that moment, in fear of forgetting the memory altogether. My work draws a connection between this complex disorder and our human tendency to “digitally hoard” photographs and videos in order to save our memories. In todays society, we have access to storage outlets such as computers, hard drives, servers, clouds, and social media where we are able to store hundreds upon thousands of digital memories for safekeeping, much like the memory hoarder stores mentally.
The formal technique used in my paintings and drawings creates general human characters out of once representational imagery through the physical distortion of the of piece’s surface. I often rework the individual pieces over and over, continuously adding and removing the medium, whether it be paint, wax, or charcoal, until it has reached its completed state. The compulsive behavior involved in creating these “tangible memories” speaks to the memory hoarders compulsive process of constant recollection and the inevitable distortion of the moments they work so diligently to remember.
These works become as entangled and bewildered as our memories, what we long for, and our states of loss. Meaning emerges through the tension between the works, leaving just enough information for the viewer to distinguish general characteristics, leaving room for them to add their own details as they long for clarity. The overwhelming hoard of paintings and drawings work together destined to create a compulsive trap for the viewer to become temporarily lost within.