Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recovered Memory - Drawings from Jan Wurm's Closet

drawings from Jan Wurm's closet

February 20 - March 27, 2009

Eddie Rhodes Gallery
Contra Costa College
2600 Mission Bell Drive
San Pablo, CA 94806

The nature of memory is fickle. Sometimes elusive, sometimes unrelenting, sometimes just not the way we remembered. The shifting nature of memory is intriguing. And when tiny fragments taunt us, we dig for more shards to piece together some reconstruction of something we may have retained only as a trace feeling or impulse.

In our efforts to document and hold on to experience, we photograph, record, and videotape. As a culture we erect monuments and memorials. As a community we sing songs and tell stories. All of these serve to build a shared history, a collective memory which is in constant flux. At times focus shifts, perspectives change, and the understanding and meanings change along with the altered memory of the moment. And as individuals we find infinite ways to mark our path: seashell, pebble, feather, a dried flower. Each serves as a touchstone for memories of childhood, travel, love and loss.

The drawings in this exhibition all address the evocative power of ordinary objects. The old towels were used in childhood on the back seat of the car to protect against wet and sandy bathing suits after a day at the beach. The old sheet covered a bed in London thirty-five years ago. The striped Indian bedspread lived in a student hostel. The leotard retains the tarnished dreams. The covering of the poker table bears the name of place out of time. Each object is a touchstone for memory and each memory the foundation for the drawn evocation of a passing moment.

How the drawings lightly rest on the surface, as if drawn up from the inner life of the object and ready to slip back at any moment, vanish without a trace, is a dance between statement and suggestion, expression and implication, inclusion and omission. A charcoal line traces the figure. Echoes of color allude to the form. The object is held fast to conjure the past. And this fills the closet with ribbons and ticket stubs and old perfumes. Unless, of course, we want to forget.

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Stacy Alexander