I am beginning to think more about the ongoing appearance of particular forms and what is the intention of the pieces I am making. Jack Whitten's exhibition a few years ago reminded me that the form you choose to make the work - the process of the making - should reflect the ideas you are trying to convey. The painting above is called The Gift: dedicated to the memory of Packy, 1988. Packy was a student of Whitten's who had died prematurely - and so he posed a question to himself 'how do you memorialize a person or event without resorting to illustrational devices?' he goes on to write in his journal that he uses material to transfer this information..the fragments of the acrylic in the painting are describing a set of feelings.
Many, many years ago I first started thinking about the way family myths and narratives (often circulating within and next to the old photographs and baldessa camera ever present in our childhood...) can impact on the way a child perceives the world. And this impact has constantly played over in my mind as soon as I settle to making a piece. These pieces I have made for over 20 years are consistently trying to redo, reinvent, massage and recreate. And in choosing to use the medium of sewing and collage I feel able to cut, stitch and remake.
What am I remaking?
The beautiful photographs I received from cousin Helen, together with the magnificent albums my friend showed me of Carl Tighe's collection of Polish photographs, reminded me that my history is not simply of a gaping hole, a grainy black and white image of genocide, or a loss. It is of presence amongst the absence. I can reimagine my great grandmother's thick textured cloak with the crochet style detail peeping through behind the clasp and think about how she must have lingered around the rolls of funky textiles in Lodz, maybe sewing and resewing, stitching and creating.
So here we are again, Finding Helena is finding the medium...