Thursday, September 18, 2014

Remnants - How Did I Get Here?

I knew at the end of 2013 I would be hanging a show at the MS Rezny Studio and Gallery in Fall 2014 - this month to be exact.  When presented with any and every option available I tend to freeze.  How can anyone make a decision when the universe is your set of choices?

This year I had decided to work with other artists toward a common theme so I felt the pressure of picking a theme all 3 of us could work toward.  I chose "Remnants" after reading the following definition:  

Remnants - noun \ˈrem-nənt\
: the part of something that is left when the other parts are gone
: a surviving trace or vestige

You see the other 2 artists, Page Turner and Amanda J. Cawby, create wonderfully detailed assemblages.  The match for them seemed perfect since they are already working with actual physical remnants.  Here's where my thoughts froze more solid than any ice cream headache.  I was left wondering how in the world do I relate to this wide open theme?  I use vintage costumes and props in my photography but that seemed a weak connection at best.  I must have moaned for months trying to find my way.

Finally the universe set 2 light bulbs off right in front of me.  Teresa, my friend and model in the triptych below asked me to think about what had left marks on me.   She knows my naval-gazing ways well and made a very good point.  I tend to think better when I can directly relate to a theme on a personal level and not just as some esoteric generality.  A week after that conversation, I was on the phone with my mother and she unknowingly set off the 2nd set of fireworks in my brain.  She wished that she could buy new living room furniture.  The back story is that 20 years ago when my great grandmother passed away my mother inherited her furniture.  Fast forward 20 years later and a decision my mother is trying to make is still being controlled by my great grandmother after 2 decades.  Ah ha! That was something I could sink my teeth into and gratefully the ideas finally started flowing.

On a side note, the piece below was created for the show to represent my amazingly strong, and oh so chic great grandmother, Lucille Ledbetter.  Most of the family jumped when she asked but not because she was a dictator, just because more often than not she was simply right.  I was lucky enough to have her around until I was in college.  There was never a problem I couldn't take to her for a tidy solution.  I can remember that she was always dressed to the 9s. There were never white shoes on her feet before Memorial Day - perish the thought!  But she also didn't mind getting her hands dirty.  One of my last great memories of her was walking into her house to find her, at the age of 90, high up on a ladder hanging new wallpaper in her bedroom.  It never occurred to me at the time that this wasn't a fine idea...
Grace Under Pressure

My artist statement for this show:

The stories of family have been heard all my life.  These miniscule glimpses into long and full lives led by not-so-distant ancestors have become woven into my own identity.  Small trinkets, newspaper obituary clippings, vintage military records, odd bits of furniture, and mysterious piles of unidentified photos dot my domestic landscape.  These remnants, both physical and emotional, have inspired my recent body of work.  Inherited heirlooms became symbols sparking visual narratives.  Tall tales and individual histories fueled ideas for concepts and compositions.  In the knowing and not knowing of these characters from my family, I sought to examine the contradictory potential to be both burdened and inspired by these remnants which cling to us from the past.

Lay Down Your Burdens
So...I know right now (God willing and the creek don't rise) that I will be hanging another show at the gallery next Fall.  Don't ask me yet what the theme will be!  I honestly don't have a clue, but maybe I've learned this year how to limit my options a little better.


  1. Wow... Such a journey and so well articulated. Stunning imagery and it all fits so well together. Sorry I'll miss the opening. Break a metaphorical leg!

    1. Thanks Cathy! You set me a fine example last year and I'm still grateful for it! :)

  2. That's amazing! I love to hear about how other artists come up with their ideas. I'm so excited for you and your show. I wish I lived closer so I could come and see it in person.

    1. Thanks Tara! I wish we lived closer together too. The creativity in your photography always astounds me. Someday we will get together for a photoshoot!