My work examines my own troubled experience with memory: its inaccuracies and inconsistent function, and how the unchecked desire to reconnect with a moment from the past can be precisely what unravels any authentic connection to that time. To me, a photograph is a mirage of memories. To explore this, I am continually conflating notions of physical and mental distance in my images, applying subtle hazes or blur over my subjects, so that no matter where one stands in relation to the work, specific detail is never quite described or reached-- similar to a silver band of water shimmering just below the horizon on a hot day.  The result is an inquiry into the uncanny--a phenomenon we can all see and describe, maybe even one we can attempt to explain, but a paradox that we can never quite connect with.

I am interested in commemorating the ordinary and the accidental, and in transforming the unceremonious, frivolous and mundane into the momentous. The results are paintings that vacillate between heartache and humor-- longing and the absurdity of longing. My explorations of these photographs through the act painting becomes a conflation of my own personal memory, or lack thereof, with the experience of taking and looking at pictures. I am interested in exploring how we develop our relationship to the past and determine or edit our personal histories.

Erin Cunningham

Questions can be directed to erincunningham@boisestate.edu

 

Notes: 

The Big Nothing: The Big Nothing is a poorly documented collection of drawings made between 2004-present. Hundred of drawings have been made of these characters, known as snigluts, and their misadventures in the world of Big Nothing. For whatever it's worth, this is a small representation of the sprawling narrative of sniglut-kind.

The Hazel B. Jackson Project: An installation based on a fictional correspondence between two unknown photographic subjects from a century ago. The artist collaborated with a number of friends and other artists to compose a series of love letters that would create the story behind a pair of pictures of the two people, each individually posed in the same spot and in the same position.  The objects were presented by the artist from a variety of materials found and manufactured and were inspired in part by the letters written by her collaborators.

The Marriage: An installation created in the Idaho State Historical Museum for a group of Day of the Dead altars. The work explores themes of isolation, loss and desire. The work transformed the bed into the "altar" and was constructed inside of the museum's replica of a blacksmith workshop.