Collages of Thousands of Strangers Convey the Vast Scale of Memory and Death
In his series Chronicle: Passing (6,393 Per Hour), artist Greg Sand creates analog super-edits of the repeated patterns found in old photographs. Drapery, flowers, shoes, shadows, hands, and faces are homed in on and grouped into enormous grids, representing the simultaneous enormity and specificity of human death. As the series’ title notes, approximately 6,393 people around the world die every hour. Each small black-and-white or sepia-toned image is from an ambiguous past era, though hairstyles and clothing offer clues to every individual’s specific moment in time.
Sand tells Colossal that the biggest challenge was collecting all the images he needed; he relied on eBay and local antique stores to source the thousands of old photographs. Using a half inch or one inch punch, Sand framed each visual element in a small square, and arranged them manually. “I was intrigued by the interactions of the various textures, values, and colors that developed,” Sand explains. “I found my eye bouncing around from light to dark, from matte to glossy, from bright to dull, from textured to smooth. The pieces became like pixelated masses from a distance that required getting very close to discover each image individually.”
Sand explains that he hopes the series sparks a reflection in the viewer on how memories fragment. Childhood recollections may focus on specific details like the clothing or gestures of a loved one. “Photographs function in a similar manner. They do not show a whole person or an entire life, but instead capture a single moment,” Sand says. “These keepsakes help determine some of the pieces of memory that stick with us.”
See the artist’s work in person at Momentum Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina in the exhibition Small Works | Big Impact, which opens November 14, 2019.
Share this story
Multiple Exposure Photographs by Ellen Cantor Evoke the Pleasure of Childhood Reading
Still life photographer Ellen Cantor meditates on memories imbued in familiar objects. In her series ‘Prior Pleasures’, Cantor uses her childhood book collection to create multiple exposure images documenting the literary loves of her youth. Each image features a single book on a black background, with the pages ablur between the illustrations, cover, and end page art.
The photographer shares that she finds inspiration in Abelardo Morell’s camera obscura work, challenging her to “explore the myth of the photographic truth and… create a new way of looking at childhood icons.” Cantor seeks to capture the pleasure of losing oneself within the page of a book, a tactile experience that has become more rare with the advent of e-readers and the competing content on smartphones.
“My photographs are about time, loss and memory. I seek to understand how life proceeds and then ultimately disappears, the artist explains. “I document the artifacts of the past to enrich the present. I am interested in reimagining the family photo album and objects that hold personal histories in order to explore the distillation and persistence of memory.”
Cantor is based in southern California, and is represented by dnj gallery and Susan Spiritus Gallery in California and Truth + Beauty in Vancouver. The ‘Prior Pleasures’ series was most recently exhibited at the West Hollywood Library in spring 2019. You can explore more of Cantor’s memory-soaked photography on her website.
Share this story
Memories of Youth Interwoven With Thousands of Minuscule Glass Beads
Artist David Chatt explores his past, family, and memories in all-white works created using found objects and minuscule white beads. Whereas earlier work was more purely decorative, like his colorful Breakfast Set (2004), over the last several years Chatt has simplified his color palette and plumbed the emotional depths of his life for more emotionally-engaged work.
In pieces created over the past several years, Chatt has drawn specifically from his personal and family history, selecting meaningful objects like a boombox from the early 1980s, the contents of his late parents’ nightstand, and the tools his mother used to create innumerable meals. Using glass beads and thread, the artist carefully covers each object, and he describes the act of covering as a means of both sealing off and protecting his memories. He shares with Colossal, “This process has the power to transform an object that, might as easily be relegated to landfill, into something precious and a record of a time, place or experience, something that encourages my audience to reflect on their own experiences and complete the story that I have begun.”
Chatt studied design at Western Washington University, Bellingham, in the late 1980s, where he recalls that a 6-foot-five male pursuing beadwork was not warmly embraced. Over the years, he has continued to refine his beadwork through post-secondary study. You can see work from Chatt in a group exhibition at Denmark’s Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in 2019, and in “A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass” at Boise Art Museum in Idaho from November 3, 2018, to February 3, 2019, a group show which includes work from Steffan Dam (previously) and Amber Cowan (previously). (thnx, Diana!)
Share this story
Melting Memories: A Data-Driven Installation that Shows the Brain’s Inner Workings
Media artist Refik Anadol’s work Melting Memories combines data paintings, light projections, and augmented data sculptures to visibly demonstrate how the brain recalls memories. The installation was created with a custom 16 x 20 foot LED media wall and CNC milled rigid foam, and was shown earlier in 2018 at Pilevneli Gallery in Istanbul. In the work, seething swirls move across the work’s surface, resembling cresting ocean waves, blossoming flowers, and shifting sand.
To generate the data, Anadol conducted experiments at the Neuroscape Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. An artist statement describes the technical process: “Anadol gathers data on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control from an EEG (electroencephalogram) that measures changes in brain wave activity and provides evidence of how the brain functions over time. These data sets constitute the building blocks for the unique algorithms that the artist needs for the multi-dimensional visual structures on display.”
Anadol is a media artist and director who specializes in site-specific public art that explores the intersection of physical and digital reality. Born in Istanbul, the artist is now based in Los Angeles, where he is a visiting researcher and lecturer at UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts. You can see more of his work on his website, as well as on Instagram, Vimeo, and Behance.
Share this story
New Oil Paintings That Trace Fictitious Memories by Joshua Flint
Joshua Flint (previously) paints scenes in relationship to the way we access old memories in our mind, blurring motions and obscuring the identities of his works’ subjects. The visual narratives are not linear, but rather create a surreal mash-up of landscapes and worlds, sourcing inspiration from digitized museum archives, vintage shops, and social media.
“The paintings fluctuate between the familiar and the unknown while simultaneously including the past and present,” said Flint in an artist statement. “By rearranging the hierarchy of elements the paintings become fictions that allow countless interpretations. Layered into works are references to liminality, ecological issues, neuroscience, psychological states, and the history of painting, among others.”
Flint has upcoming solo exhibitions at Seager / Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, California and Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, South Carolina this fall. You can see more of his oil paintings and studio sketches on his Instagram.
Share this story
Artist Jeremy Miranda Explores Memory and Scenes of the Northeast in His Sublime Paintings
Artist Jeremy Miranda (previously) paints in a space between worlds: reality and memory, indoor and outdoor, past and present. Ideas and concepts bleed together within his acrylic paintings like the fuzzy edges of a dream, where powerful images exist amongst unexpected locations and backdrops. The New Hampshire-based artist is heavily influenced by his surroundings in the American Northeast, apparent in his depiction of dense woods, crashing waves, and the recurring motif of lush greenhouses—a more literal depiction of his mixing of environments.
Miranda has an upcoming exhibition next month with Michelle Morin at Nahcotta Gallery, and he has a number of works or prints available through Etsy, Nahcotta, and his online shop.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Animation
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.