A few years ago, I discovered a box of childhood photos in my mother’s home and didn't recognize myself in them. I became interested in exploring how remembered moments change over time. A photograph captures a moment and holds it still, but memory shifts, morphs, changes, blurs, or becomes more vivid over time. A photo helps us to recall forgotten memories, but often it does not reveal the same reality that we remember. In a single image, there can be moments of clarity and moments of ambiguity. The process of layering and withholding paint allows me to explore the way I experience these images. Bright primary colors evoke the feeling of childhood: shiny candy wrappers, plastic toys, checkered dresses hanging on a clothesline. Layers of hazy memories reveal themselves through the layers of paint. The faces are foggy, in a dreamlike state. How do I discern what is real and what is not? If it is my face looking back at me, why can’t I recognize it?
And yet it is not enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves - only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises from their midst and goes forth from them. - Rainer Maria Rilke
Personal Web Site of Rachel Duffy
Installation: canvas, acrylic paint, oil pastels, clothespins, clothesline