I’m putting the finishing touches on the work for my senior exhibition Backdrop. The show is a culmination of 4 years of study and features a body of work eight months in the making. Completion of this show is the proverbial “icing on my cake” to a college career that has been full of opportunity and growth. Though the price tag has been steep, the doors my time at Bradley have opened for me seem to compensate for holes in my wallet. Backdrop will open on Wednesday April 19th, alongside shows developed by Theresa Moir and Vasiliki Tsagarakis.
My exhibit is comprised primarily of serigraph prints featuring landscape images of locations of personal notability drawn from memory. This subject matter spawns from my current transition from extended adolescence to late onset adulthood. Anxieties with my coming independence nudged me to seek out memories of comforting scenarios, moments of self discovery, and reassurance in my personal abilities. What started as a search for comfort quickly evolved into seeking an understanding of these memories and their pertinence to me in this stressful moment.
I accidentally stumbled upon a study about the nature of memory, in this study scientists found that memories are in fact a series of reoccurring chemical reactions rather than stagnant data within the brain. Meaning memories are not stored like files in the brain, instead they reoccur every time an individual recalls a memory through a number of synapses. It is this cyclical process of thought that causes memories to fade and change. Overtime details break down into generalities until only the most prominent of features are remembered with any clarity.
This series reflects my own interactions with altered memories. Colors and shape interact to create phantom re-imaginings of locations that were the ‘backdrops’ of many important memories from throughout my life thus far. My process typically begins with a number of sketches drawn from memory, once satisfied with a composition I transfer it to a screen for printing. After the initial stencil, which typically includes many prominent features of a structure or location, the subsequent screens are developed in response to this new interpretation of the memory, a process that mimics the chemical act itself. This new altered form is then amended by each following screen resulting in an image which is both a representation of the original but also a wholly separate entity onto itself. The important details are typically exaggerated but otherwise much of the information from the original has been lost or replaced subconsciously.
Serigraph, and printmaking at large, naturally lent itself to the thought processes that led to this body of work. Maneuvering the image through the various stages necessary to its development ultimately lead to this aesthetic. In each print I strived for formally interesting compositions and visually pleasing pallets. The themes pushing the inception of these images are largely left for the viewer to deliberate. The nature of memory itself will help reveal that which is most important. When the audience reflects on these images their own memories will connect the important details and replace the lossy aspects with their own imagined information.
I hope you all can join me in celebrating this body of work at a closing reception held on Saturday, April 21st at the Prairie Center of the Arts; 1506 Southwest Washington Street Peoria, IL 61602.