Some people claim to remember life principally based on their sense of sight. A subset of this group claims to have “photographic memory” that allows them to remember virtually everything they see. I do not believe that I fall into this group of people. In fact, I am skeptical that such people exist. I think I have an average ability to remember specific events and details. Some of my peers can list the names of everyone that was in their class in first grade and detail every major event that happened in a book they read seven years ago. I cannot do either of those thing; but that is not to say I have a bad memory.
About seven years ago, I read the Chronicles of Narnia book series and I can remember that the fourth book was my favorite. I do not remember—at all—what the book was about. However, when I try to remember the book, what comes to mind is what I can only describe as an image. It is unclear and I cannot really see it with my eyes, only feel it. If I try to hard to look at it head-on in a conscious state, I get a headache. In this quasi-visual memory that appears, everything I felt about that book seems to be bound up in this single fleeting scene that will dematerialize if I try to actually examine it. In a single timeless instant, through this image, I can see how it felt to read this book and how C.S. Lewis’s words smelled. This is the best way I can think to describe how memory works for me.
I say all of this to explain how I remember my past condensed down into unexplainable stills that encompass vast sets of details. The reason I do so is because all of the artwork I present in this exhibition attempt to replicate this form of memory. This guiding principle is what unifies them. All of the pieces in my exhibition present a scene from a narrow perspective. Some of the pieces, like Venation, take this element to the extreme. Like my quasi-visual memories, the image is not a story. In viewing my works, do not think about what happened in the realm of the piece before or after the scene I depict was created. Causality is irrelevant in these pieces and thinking about them in such terms gives me a headache. The artworks in this exhibition do not illustrate a view of our reality or of some reality. My artworks are a depiction of a reality entirely composed and condensed down to the image they present. Each and every piece in this exhibition should be examined as its own singular entity removed from the others.
Most of the works in this exhibition have thematic element. Some speak on the beauty of nature, others comment on aspects of the human condition, and others seek to encapsulate a singular rare emotion that I can only remember feeling a few times in my life. I hope some of the viewers of my exhibition will see these elements and intentions, but I do not want the viewer to look too hard. Understanding these themes is not the main purpose of my artwork. What is important when I create a piece is expressing what I remember—at the time of creation—feeling toward the topic or topics about which I created the piece all wrapped up in a single self-containing scene. When I look back at the pieces in this exhibition, I remember how I remembered what I remembered when I created the piece and the feeling I had about that memory. The pieces in this exhibition express of how I see the world and how I remember it.
I do not expect the viewer to understand the full breadth of meaning I am trying to express in my artwork because I do not fully understand either. For me, the pieces in this exhibition help explain how I perceive the world and how I once saw it. I hope that the viewer can hopefully see the world a little differently by seeing a piece of how I see.