Of Ghosts and Garage Sales: The painted realizations of reflective nostalgia

Memory is the domain of obscurity, it is not to be trusted.
— Allan Megill, The Collective Memory Reader, 196.

Painted from the lost snapshot photograph collections of strangers, the Testimonial paintings represent both the mythical potential of earlier times and the maddening reality that no matter what details are revealed, they can only ever be ghosts of the glories and tragedies that preceded our own. In the search for their stories, for their truths, for their absent memories, everything and everyone that we could have known lies dormant. The ghosts, the legion of “selves” arise from the questions asked of the paintings, and through the invented answers that activate the fractured past. In order to do this, I analyze the concepts of postmemory and reflective nostalgia, exploring how they manifest as paintings.

(Submitted to Washington University in St. Louis, Spring 2014)


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