Gray Matter began as a reflection on and a way to deal with my own lack of memory. Recent research suggests that during trauma or major depressive episodes, long term memories aren’t just repressed, but are never formed at all. These gaps on my memory mean relying on outside forces to reveal my own history to me. A photograph in a box. A story someone else told me. Can I trust another person’s memory of an event I have no recollection of? How much of the story am I missing from an image? As I began to obsessively worry over these lapses in my memory, blank spaces took on more meaning and weight than the memories I do have.
My work explores the relationship of memory to image and image to surface. I consider the way images are used as stand-ins for memory, often becoming what we remember rather than the event itself. Making paper comprised entirely of old images is a large part of my practice. Physically destroying the image to make the pulp and the lack of control I have in what will be visible or legible becomes important elements of the final pieces. But the image fragments that seem random are carefully chosen as I maintain a constant push and pull between chance and control. I explore the limits of an image’s legibility along with the limits of my memory.
The nature of memory is at the heart of the work as ultimately this obsessive self reflection reveals no truths for me. If one’s sense of self is a story, mine is missing entire sections that I will never be able to read. Since “what really happened” has become meaningless, I learn to live with the gaps.