SANTA FE, N.M. — The relationship between memory and identity is explored in an art exhibition opening in Santa Fe this weekend.
“Reperception,” a three-artist show hosted at freeform art space, is curated by Art Shape Mammoth, a national nonprofit arts group that represents artists, and curates exhibitions and educational programming.
Jane Gordon, an Albuquerque-based artist, Art Shape Mammoth member and curator of this show, said she came up with the exhibit’s theme while trying to identify subject matter that linked the participating artists – Boca Raton-based painter and professor Andy Brown, New York-based Lindsey Wolkowicz and local multimedia artist Scout Dunbar.
The commonalities among the three led Gordon to the ideas of personal memories and sense of place, and what they mean to each other.
“Does the fact that our memory is changing mean so is our self-identity, or are our memories altered to better reflect our current sense of self?” said Gordon.
She described Brown’s “dream-like” work as often inspired by his own memories, which reminds her of the way humans remember things and how things change as we remember them.
Wolkowicz’s art, she explained, focuses on the different aspects of memories through the relationships of people with the spaces they physically occupy.
And Dunbar, Gordon said, takes inspiration from local architecture and colors to make landscape-based abstraction drawings. According to Dunbar, who recently moved to Santa Fe from Ithaca, N.Y., her work is a “hybrid” between what she observes in the present, consciously and subconsciously, as well as memories of her past.
Drawings from a recent series that she will feature in the show are greatly inspired by the colors, textures and forms she sees while hiking around her new hometown. It also takes inspiration from designs and colors in locally made textiles.
“That series is also kind of about man’s influence on the landscape and, not necessarily impact, but relationships to the landscape,” she said. “When I see structures and things that have been built by humans, I try and incorporate that, as well.”
Much of her recent series incorporates earth tones, as well as “electric” colors like bright blues and turquoise.
Brown, an instructor at Florida Atlantic University, told the Journal he’s always made his memories and trying to learn more about his self-identity a large part of his work. His most recent series in particular focuses on the idea of cultural identity.
He said he noticed how much he took the idea of cultural identity for granted until a recent conversation with his wife, who is Japanese. Because she’s lived in Japan, as well as the U.S., he said, she has felt like a “citizen of nowhere.” It made him think about how that kind of identity may seem “tangible and finite,” but it actually is not. “It’s very subjective and very elusive,” said Brown.
The series he will show in “Reperception,” he explained, includes paintings that combine memories of places in his home growing up, specifically the kitchen and the bathroom, and blending those recollections with how similar rooms are arranged in Japan.
“It’s trying to find a way to merge the two worlds together,” he said. “How they combine and how they don’t, how they conflict, as well.” He said, by doing this, he can better define his own identity, which he said is constantly evolving.
When putting together shows like the one at freeform, Gordon said, she hopes the audience will end up with more questions than answers.
“Artwork in a way is providing fodder for the conversation, rather than giving any direct conclusive answers to questions,” she said.