"Wow. That was fast."
That was fast.
I mean life.*
Wow That Was Fast, is a visual memoir that explores the mystery and energy of my life and how the vicissitudes of time have impacted it. These two themes interplay through 12 connected paintings and are reinforced by wrapped-object sculptures, and related poem fragments.
The paintings reflect my emotional life and accumulated memories at various developmental stages and how the perception of time changes from its solid, and seemingly endless quality in childhood, to its fleeting and frangible quality in old age. Starting from What the #@%*? at the beginning of things, I enter the serious childhood years of Why? and How?—the heaviness of waiting: for parents to return, for Christmas to come, for the class bell to ring. In adolescence time is all over the map. It can last forever with a touch or rush past when one most wants it to linger. It is filled with passion, confusion, wrong choices, and startling successes. Then, I'm riding the wave of discovery: work, ambition, marriage, responsibility that carries me through the lush and sensuous middle years. I'm too busy to think about time, but I feel there's never enough of it. And suddenly as I slow down, time seems to fragment. When I'm best able to understand the changing dynamics of time, it betrays me. So I come back to the Why? of things, but, on reflection, the answers are more elusive and impenetrable than ever.
I developed this painting series from an automatic drawing exercise using Post-it® notes to explore my personal myth in a constrained time/space continuum. Using these ephemeral notes allowed me to find the intuitive visual language, symbols and metaphors of my life, through stream-of-conscious abstractions. The challenge then was to retain in scaled-up paintings the spontaneity of the original gestures and vibrant colors of the note sketches.
Although the theme of the paintings reflects my personal life experience, these abstractions might also be read as an exploration of any theme of twelve: the cycling months of the year, the Stations of the Cross, chapters in a novel, or 12 steps to a better self. They open a door in your mind for personal reflection and reference.
The sculptural pieces of wrapped materials are "memory banks" that hold the things we never see in others or hide in ourselves. Words, questions, objects, hidden or only partially exposed hint at the secrets, desires, and yearnings that push-and-pull us. The wrapped sculptures were inspired by a performance piece I designed to explore the power of memories hold over the self.
Holding the loose ends of brightly colored balls of yarn, a group of people tossed them into a busy atrium from a circular balcony. They then sat and
re-wrapped the yarn into a ball, concentrating on enclosing good and/or bad memories within. During the performance multicolored threads moved up through the atrium, while the yarn balls below skittered and diminished engaging passers by, as the memories accumulated above. Each participant had the choice of saving or destroying their emotionally charged "memory ball." Some kept them to save and venerate, while others said that destroying them would be cathartic.
The sculptures in this exhibit are wrapped objects or ideas that hold an emotional charge for me.
The poem fragments reflect the existential and philosophical challenges that we meet and question throughout our lives.
*Ron Padgett, Collected Poems, Coffee House Press, 2013