Stories and Structures: Excursions in Memory

January 5 - February 16, 2018 

Reception: January 5, 2018; 6 - 9pm

Seeing is a sensory and sensual pleasure. Knowing, understanding is something harder than that, and not always possible or even necessary. The work of Aboriginal artists presents just this conundrum. The beauty, design, rhythm and sheer presence of the work elicits a visceral reaction. Confronting the “other-ness” of the ideas within the work seems impossible.

Radically different conceptions of space, time, landscape, place, journey, symbol, and the very purpose of mark-making, essentially mean that our approach to the work, beyond the purely sensory/aesthetic, is tangled with our own culturally-based assumptions. And the hardest part of this set of doorways, the paradox of affect, is that once you’ve learned about the meaning, worldview, symbolism and methodology, your learning doesn’t eliminate other-ness. You can be moved deeply by the work and introduced to the different conceptions from which it arises, and that may be as close as you can get. 

This is not an argument against interpretation, a narrowing of our culture horizon. The different time signatures and scales of many examples of world music, the magic of the literatures of other cultures oral and written, and these works which defy our definitions all challenge, mystify, and move us. They move us beyond our selves.

Curator’s Statement: Jim LaVilla-Havelin

Stories and Structures: Excursions in Memory:

An exhibit of the work of Lucia LaVilla-Havelin, Jeanie Sanders, and Ward Sanders.

Traversing the territory of narrative in three distinct media, the artists – LaVilla-Havelin, and J . and W. Sanders – understand the resonance of objects, the distances implied by juxtaposition, and our inherent need to tell (see, find) stories. This exhibit explores the knowable and the unknowable elements of narrative as they appear in, interconnect, and underpin the works of these artists.

LaVilla-Havelin’s hand-embroidered altered postcards comment on, extend, and reconstruct, narrative meanings and connections in these quintessential memory materials. These works vivify the dialogue that is story remembered, and story unfolding.

Jeanie Sanders’ evocative collages assemble fraught imagery, natural materials, and found objects to create compositions that are charged with narrative possibilities, memory’s gems.  Objects from nature, fragments of text, images from other eras and places, and shards of daily life, combine to shed light on our passages through time – stories.

The assemblages of Ward Sanders, boxes that contain and compose myriad objects of meaning-making, informations, and commentary, extend our stories into the three-dimensions that are the very ground of narrative.   While many works refer to sources in literature – John McPhee, Primo Levi, and David Foster Wallace – and transcend their referents, many others are the product of a magical and broadly attuned intelligence and vision. 

Stories and Structures: Excursions in Memory, is a layered envisioning of what story is and can be, a place of the echoes that memory makes, and the ways we connect them to tell stories, lives. How each artist’s structures of choice shape our re-telling, our experience of narrative, is a focal point for the curator’s selection of this diverse and powerful work.

I find in this work, in their systems for looking, and the poetry of retrieval, their conscious and sub-conscious telling of tales, a richly textured array of memories, materials, and resonances. 

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