Selective Memory

“Selective Memory” began as a project five years ago entitled “Instability Inc” for Galerie Protégé in New York. In this exhibit there were around 25 painted car wing mirror pieces attached to the gallery walls, at various heights and angles- as well as an assortment of related sculptural works. However in the subsequent years since then, the project has continued in more depth and rigour, so that now at this present moment in mid April, 2020, there are over 140 mirror pieces. Some of which have recently been shown in Berlin at Bethanien, kunst quartier in a show entitled ” Microfiction”, curated by Buro Adalbert. This body of work is to be exhibited in March/ April 2021 in a solo show at the Hampden Gallery of The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where there will is anticipated to be around 200 paintings created for the space.. There follows down below, an in depth statement describing the background to the paintings.

The proposed exhibit “Selective Memory” would transform the white walled gallery into an immersive environment and travelogue. It would form a complex installation that consists of a large series of miniature paintings upon vintage car wing mirrors. The mirrors would be fitted to the walls at various heights and angles throughout the space, creating a constellation of intricate imagery. In total, there would be around 120 mirrors arranged in clusters. Each painting depicts detailed observations, or artificial reflections. Within the surface of the mirror there is left an unpainted section that allows the viewer to see themselves reflected and integrated into the picture.

Each image painted is a piece of evidence pertaining to a personal and often specific narrative; a private souvenir and insistent “reflection”on the condition of mortality. There is an affection for the overlooked and forgotten things that can often trigger a specific and visceral memory. Collectively the exhibit describes how sometimes there is a hidden power in the simplest of objects.

Some of the mirrors reflect a distant scene, fragments of city scapes, quiet pathways and undefined spaces. Others reflect solitary objects or materials, such as worn carpets, an old toothbrush, or half eaten chicken leg. Many of the objects are indeed in a state of transformation- some are broken, worn, used or discarded; others transform and grow, yet they are all painted with the same level of care and reverence. While the mirrors, due to their scale encourage the viewer to move in and peer closely; from afar they create a collective unit of colourful imagery, activating the space and creating an almost silent dialogue.

The paintings are glimpses into daily observations and feelings, evocations of the past and often express the fragility of the human condition, hopefully in a poetic way.

The subject matter of my work has never really altered all that much, and there is a very common thematic device throughout everything that I have done. It generally begins with isolation and goes out from there- it conveys the same four or five elements of life.

The painted wing mirrors are vehicles that enable me to creep up on those questions from another angle; to repose the questions- the essence of which is spiritual abandonment and loneliness. But the form, while centred in painting has always mutated and developed. However, the change in form is only partial, and the change is a way to get into the same set of questions, yet again from a different place.

Though the subject matter can be quite dark in tone, there is an attempt to occasionally frame the issues with a lighter touch- to dip them in a coating of black humour, to introduce an element of existential comedy.

Over all, there develops an admixture of chagrin and the nostalgic- by eschewing mostly bodily representation, it is possible to portray the essence of someone through the depiction of simple objects and materials that are connected to a personal narrative.

By zeroing in on  personal narratives, there develops a situation where broader and more general, and universal human themes become more apparent.