Memory is malleable, shape-shifting and elusive.  Details of events, people and places change through repeated recollection.  Hindsight places certain details within a hierarchy.  Emotions cause some events to become more significant than others.  Some memories we become attached to. Others we grow indifferent towards.  Still others we forget, no matter how we try to retain them.   Occasionally, we acquire memories that aren’t our own, but that we recall in elaborate detail.  Photographs can stimulate this type of recollection, putting people in places they never were.  Family albums are filled with the same characters moving in and out of familiar scenes, stimulating an avalanche of recalled experience that can blend itself into other events incongruously.  My work examines this phenomenon—how memories change, are forgotten and ultimately become fictitious rearrangements of details somehow deemed more meaningful than others.  Some details are omitted, others exaggerated, figures dissolve into ground, the paint becomes present and then fades away.  

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.