Holding Nancy

Archival Digital Prints and Hand Drawn/Painted Line, 26x13, 2011 - ongoing

The series Holding, utilizes created images and found photographs to present a place between truth and fiction. These contrasting images sit side by side with a thin line painted across their surface, drawing imagined connections. The images themselves reinforce the concepts of memory and often use mnemonic elements and notions of artifact to represent an underlying story, which touches on the personal while still attempting the collective.

I combine photographs I’ve made of empty places – spaces once inhabited or currently inhabited but with no one present – with found photographs of times that no longer exist – images that are empty of personal memory – and then paint a thin line to draw a literal point of connection from one image to the next.  The line, like a strand of DNA, ties the images, separated by generations, to one another. The line is often initiated in the found photograph by pointing to the senses – taste, smell, touch, sound – to a point in the contemporary image that speaks to the residues left behind by current or past inhabitants.

My intention is to make several “chapters” of the Holding series, each dedicated to a person of influence in my life which serves to establish place, lineage, and narrative in each chapter.  Leaning on the notion of the “book” as narrative, chapters are titled in “honor of” and each diptych’s title utilizes the complexity of language to help navigate the viewer to underlying connections and conundrums – the narratives of the diptychs are often as rich as they are convoluted.  Each “chapter’s” photographs are made in the location of the honoree’s “home” and while appropriated photographs are collected in the same location, they are not necessarily of that place.  To date four chapters have been made with a forthcoming chapter to be completed in late 2014. 

In the series Holding as with most of my work, I visually navigate the stories in my mind – remember stories that may, or may not exist, imagine stories not yet told. The concept is rooted in the details presented – sometimes revealing and yet often holding secret, there is truth in the tales but not necessarily a truth of mine alone. I am interested in the intangibility of this middle ground, I am searching for that which we experience and cannot express – evidence of memory, evidence of experience, evidence of existence. 

Holding Nancy is dedicated to Nancy Leighton McWilliams, my “Muzzie” who I barely knew.