“Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.
You forget some things, don’t you?
Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”
― Cormac McCarthy,
Much of my work concerns itself with our memory, how we perceive our past and how the memory of that past affects our present and our future. It often seems a treasure, this memory, but it also comes with the price of suffering as well. After all, the word nostalgia is created from two Greek roots, nostos which means return and algos which means pain or grief.
We suffer in our desire to return.
I see that feeling in this new piece, an 11″ by 15″ painting on paper that I call Suffering Memory. There is something in the color and the placement of the elements that has a bittersweet quality much like that feeling of looking back through time to a point that you know is long gone and will never come again.
You desire a return but too much has changed– knowledge gained, the self revealed and innocence lost.
The strong chaos of the texture underneath gives this piece an effect that I think adds to the distance of the memory felt. The texture acts as a distorting agent which represents the natural distortion that time casts over all of our memories. As we all know, while we would like to think that memory is an absolute truth, time often seems to bend it even further from reality.
The texture here creates areas of light and dark that represent for me the alternating facets of memory’s truthfulness. While it would be nice to have all memories be completely faithful to the absolute truth of the moment, it is that texture, that flawed recall of our memory that gives it the meaning that it holds for us.
In reality, nothing is seldom as good or as bad as we remember. But that doesn’t really matter because it is not the truth to which we react. It is our memory of it, our personal version of that truth with its own color and texture that affects us, that causes us to suffer the memory.