Collection Title

Remnants & Recollections

Author/Artist Name

Ashley ReaganFollow

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Academic Level at Time of Creation

Senior

Date of Creation

Fall 11-21-2020

Artist Statement

Within my work, I explore a relationship between nature and memory. In both nature and the mind’s processes of cataloguing previous experiences, forms can become pervasive, overgrown, untamed, be lost, or be found, perhaps changed by their surroundings. Each piece explores not only the easily forgettable side of latent recollection, but also the recurring and insistent nature of traumatic memories.

In each ceramic memory-scape, photographs transferred onto forms lost and buried in the foliage both represent memories and express the ways our minds catalog experiences. These memories become lost over time, details blurring, deteriorating and often deforming until only remnants of the original occurrences prevail; relating to how the mind can be sometimes impassable when trying to recall. The interactive experience of looking for the lost item within each piece is important, as it presents an introspective opportunity to the viewer to consider their memories.

Other works examine what happens when an experience is traumatic or uncategorizable. The human brain stores memory throughout instead of in just one section. When experiencing trauma, adrenaline floods the body, causing the experience to be imprinted into the brain; which then holds onto that emotional intensity and impulse and ties it to the physical event. Occasionally these damaging memories can resurface, often in the form of unwanted thoughts. The metal wearables created are the physical manifestations of these damaging, recurring thoughts. Debilitating flashbacks can prevent the body from responding properly; the jewelry is uncomfortable for the wearer and embodies those same restricting feelings, leaving the wearer incapable of forgetting the jewelry’s existence. In the creation of each piece I reference invasive plant species and their growth patterns; the way that many vines drain the life from the foliage underneath them, sometimes overwhelming the entire landscape. Similarly, the jewelry pieces appear to grow over and inundate the wearer, reflecting their intrusive nature in physical form.

Both Jessica Calderwood and Jess Riva Cooper’s work were important touchstones for me in making this series. My work is in conversation with Calderwood’s early sculptures, which uses not only botanical imagery but also captures the feeling of being disembodied or overwhelmed. Cooper’s installation-based ceramics and the way that she creates entire environments within the exhibition space inspired me to approach similar questions about interactive experiences in ceramics. Cooper’s ceramic busts communicate a feeling of discomfort and the idea of being overtaken by something invasive to the body, which informed some of the decision-making in my jewelry.

Advisor/Mentor

Jeanne Beaver; John Utgaard; Danielle Muzina

Description

This show is a collection of mostly sculptural ceramic and wearable metals work. The pieces themselves encapsulate the idea of memory and how it is stored within the brain. The ceramics focuses in on the way the mind allows memories to fade with time, and how the collection of memories within one's mind as a whole make up an environment. The way that the pieces are set out in the gallery is meant to assist in this feeling as the viewer is to explore the artificial memory-scape and seek out each fading memory within the pieces. The ceramic work is entirely in a terracotta clay body. Each one has a layer of slip and then under-glaze sprayed on top before the final clear glaze. Settled into each piece is a photo applied via a photo transfer applique. The metals pieces focus on the incorrect way the brain deals with memories associated with trauma. The pieces themselves are meant to be a physical representation of the way a trauma response such as a panic attack can manifest in the body. They are in a range of metals including sterling silver, copper, and brass.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Remnants & Recollections

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