On March 7, 2017, I attended a gallery exposition called “(In) Voluntary Memories,” at Llewellyn Gallery. All collections were created by Alysia Kaplan, who is an interdisciplinary artist based in Rochester, NY. In the gallery, there were four pieces of art work. According to Kaplan’s website, when she creates art work, she does not have a specific subject or reason at the time. She finds and builds up the subject and meaning of the art while she is creating, or after the art finished. As the title of this gallery said, these works express Kaplan’s memory. However, her art does not just show her memory, but also reminds people of their own memories.
Each of her photos and movie is concrete, but her whole art work seems abstract. Because there is no correct interpretation for abstract art, viewers can enjoy her work freely and can determine what to feel and think about the work. Even though her art work is montage, her work has harmony. For example, the above image is composed of six different images. Each photo is arranged to be the same size. The subject and color do not seem to have coherency, but this lack of coherence expresses what the memory is. When people look back at their memories, they will remember the memories in fragments.
Her video art work also expresses what memory is. Her video is mostly consisted of gray scale videos. Even though the video has no sound, it was easy to imagine the sound of the video. Her video is montage. It is about a scene of daily life, a landscape, and funeral. When I was watching this video, I could hear people talking, the sound of wind, and the sound of the gate opening.
This gallery is about Kaplan’s memory. If people see her work at a glance, it will seem to have no meaning. However, if people take time and see her work for a while, her art will remind them their own memories. I think her gallery display itself shows what memory is.