words and photos by Josy Jones
Do you remember your first time trying to ride a bike? Maybe you can paint a clear picture in your mind of the wavering certainty you felt as you first mounted the seat, or the feeling of imbalance as you swayed side to side, your tiptoes keeping you upright. Or maybe these memories are fuzzy, covered in the layers of life and other triumphs you’ve achieved thus far.
You’re not alone in your forgetfulness. In a time where we rely on technology to be our memory by setting reminders, storing phone number and even capturing videos, we are not forced to commit things to memory the way we once were. In her exhibit, Echo, at the 22 High Street Gallery, artist Mellissa Redman explores the concept of memory.
For some, thinking about memory and their relationship with it can be frightening, but Mellissa gives her audience the opportunity to explore those feelings with a relaxed disposition. The pieces in Mellissa’s exhibit have a fluid element intertwined in them. Mellissa thinks of memory as being transient, or fleeting, like water and these pieces are a part of a collection that Mellissa calls “Pisces.” She incorporates muted blues and grays in her work and uses these colors to evoke calmness so that the series is more inviting.
To mirror the evanescent nature of memories, the Pisces collection has elements of disappearance and transparency. Mellissa does this with a watercolor painted base and begins to build upon the base with patterning, resin and other media. These build-on elements move the audience member further and further from the base, just as memories ripple out and become removed from their original form.
The patterning of Mellissa’s pieces are inspired by “whirl and loop” patterning, like the patterns found in fingerprints and hair roots. Mellissa uses this inspiration to texture memories and uses patterns to represent emotions and their relation to memory. Her ability to create a tangible representation of an idea, while giving it texture and layers, is astounding.
Whether it be forgetfulness, sharing memories with friends, or wanting to forget something, this exhibit is designed in a way that is inherently universal and able to be related to all walks of life.
“The ambiguity and abstraction within these pieces allow for the viewer to assert their own meaning,” says Mellissa.
This makes it possible for each audience member to contemplate their own relationship with memory.
Experience the physical manifestation and personal exploration of memory at 22 High Street Gallery between September 2 and 23. Who knows, you may recall something that has been lost under layers of life. It won’t be as clear as when you first started to learn to ride your bike, but it’s worth the recollection.