June 8–July 15, 2022
Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery / Cal State LA
Curated by Jason Jenn and Vojislav Radovanović
with Mika Cho, Professor, ART/Director, Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery, Cal State LA
Featured artists: Enrique Castrejon, Serena JV Elston, Anita Getzler, Jason Jenn, Ibuki Kuramochi, Marne Lucas, Trinh Mai, Hande Sever, Vojislav Radovanović, Marval A Rex, Kayla Tange, Nancy Kay Turner and Jessica Wimbley.
Memories are always deeply personal and vulnerable to suggestion, sometimes nebulous, dreamlike and elusive, possibly distorted, often rooted in objects like keepsakes and heirlooms that tie families together across generations. This thoughtfully conceived and curated exhibition connects disparate artistic visions, varied media and divergent approaches to the creative process, linking them in a unifying theme of time and memory in a powerful and haunting way.
The show has a palpable ambiance, a prevailing subdued aura tinged with an overriding sense of sorrow and loss. On entering the gallery, an initial impression is conveyed by sound rather than imagery. In the background, discordant ambient audio from various looped videos creates an eerie otherworldly mood, the non-verbal creaks and squeaks intermingling, contributing to an overall disquiet.
Adding heft to the show, recurring thematic threads surface in unexpected ways, even among the dramatically distinct bodies of work by the 12 featured artists. Included in the mix are site-specific installations, assemblage sculpture, video, ceramics, collage and photography. Themes such as birth, maternity, time and death – propelled by manmade objects – point to the earth and the idea of re-growth and re-generation, suggesting the idea that life is about both renewal and borrowed time.
Images: (Left to right) Trinh Mai: Begins with Tea, Jessica Wimbley: The True Story of Edges (still image), Jason Jenn: Sharing a Seat with the Poets, and Marne Lucas: Wet Passengers Cave (Ascension) 2022. Megan Frances Abrahams Photos.
Striking among these, is Trinh Mai’s installation, Begins with Tea, comprised of rows of tea sachets with tiny sepia-toned family photos enclosed along with grains, seeds, herbs, noodles – symbols of heritage, things passed down through generations. Hande Sever’s black and white photos beckon the viewer to look more closely. In them, a female figure interacts with the outdoor environment and various incongruous manmade objects – a newspaper, a fence, papers, costumes. Jessica Wimbley’s digital video installation, The True Story of Edges, employs a clever framing device so much of the footage is projected within the silhouette of a woman’s hair, as if presenting memories as they transpire in her head.
Allusions to pregnancy, birth and motherhood pervade Ibuki Kuramochi’s video installation, in which ocean waves are linked to procreation. In his quiet contemplative installation, Sharing a Seat with the Poets, Jason Jenn sets a scene: a divan with plants, rocks and stacks of books, among which one title stood out with particular resonance for its reference to the finite reality of life: Paul Monette’s Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir.
Anita Getzler symbolically pays homage to victims of the Holocaust in related sensitive assemblage works that combine historic items like women’s watches, symbolizing time, and Memorial candles from the Jewish tradition. In Vojislav Radovanović’s Days Devoured by Locusts, the artist’s video montage imagery is echoed by an installation of broken glass, tree branches planted in cement, bird figurines, models, feathers, shells and other found objects seemingly implying a confluence of scattered mementos of life. In producing her evocative sepia toned two-dimensional collages, Nancy Kay Turner incorporates a menu of diverse media and materials, including bread residue, lace, parchment, animal skeletons and staples, rendering a compelling vintage effect.
On some level, Memories of Tomorrow’s Sunrise is about layering – both figuratively and literally. Materials, often unconventional, are layered with metaphoric references to time. This is a careful compilation of works connected by family, heredity, tradition, loss and layers of time. For what are memories if not layers of time?
Top Image: Enrique Castrejon: The Realization You Are Losing Your Memory with Frequent Confusion and Disorientation, (2021) Foam core board, steel pins, acid-free archival glue, acrylic, pastels, sepia, graphite pigmented ink, black marker, paper, artist tape, thumbtacks and strips of paper with Alzheimer’s data from Alzheimer’s Los Angeles Fact Sheet 2018 and LA County Health Status Profiles 2017. Courtesy Bermudez Projects and the Fraijo Family. Megan Frances Abrahams Photo.