Palimpsest

Artist Statement:

My art and research practice often involves how memory functions and how we store and recall memories of our past. Memory plays an essential part in how individuals and groups construct their identities, imagine ideas, images, and feelings. To understand how memory affects identity, one must first understand how individuals come to remember and identify themselves. Memories can remain dormant in our minds for years and reappear under circumstances of trauma, grief, victory, or joy influenced by personal or public stories and experiences.  Memories can also be erased and replaced bearing the traces of an earlier recollection. Each of us carries an inherent and expansive palimpsest that formulates how we identify ourselves.

Much like memory, a palimpsest is something that has changed over time and shows evidence of that change. It has many noticeable stages or levels of meaning, development, and history. This layered structure is the basis of my artistic practice. I begin my work by building up the surface of a painting with strips of old canvas, papers, and found objects. I often bury the work in the earth allowing nature to impose decay upon the process. I then peel back individual layers through physical deconstruction by sanding, carving, and detaching. Within this process of destruction and deterioration, a regeneration eventually occurs. The canvas evolves through alteration and begins to define palimpsest through the layered series of changes that occur to its origin surface.

In my current work, I am exploring the concept of how memory can manipulate and remodel the palimpsest. This work explores the reconstructed memory of my personal life which is often projected through my use of found photography from the early 1900s. Painting the images of people I’ve never met brings the discourse of memory into my work, functioning as an allegory to my own past relationships. In practice, I use these found images to build up the canvas, then conceptually excavate or replace my memory and identity with subsequent layering. Echoes of earlier information remain behind the new surface, leaving traces of what once was. I believe that what lies beneath the surface of the canvas is often the true story of self, erased and rewritten.

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