My great-grandma died when I was thirteen. I was old enough to know her, but too young to understand her. Last Summer, while cleaning out her recently-sold house—a house that had been with my family for over three generations—I experienced a feeling of loss once-removed. Rather than grieving my great-grandma specifically, I grieved a sense of time, place, and memory that somehow permeated her shelves of empty mayonnaise jars and bags of patched-up clothes. It was as if the ghost of my childhood still lived within those decks of playing cards and boxes of wrapping paper, and it escaped upon my recognition of its resting site.
Turns out the amount of stuff that you take from a place can hinder the level of closure you feel upon leaving it. I took a lot. By now I’ve spent weeks combing through “the evidence:” photographs of things we threw away, fabric squares that my great-grandma would have sewn onto clothes, bits of wrapping paper featuring patterns reminiscent of the forties through eighties. What is now my kitchen table. What are now my kitchen chairs. My takeaway is this: you can surround yourself with the past, but you can’t live in it.
Ultimately the title of this show references a feeling: some time-and-place-specific emotion that was certainly more substantive in a prior form than in the assemblage of materials I used to represent its loss. It references my childhood: an entire era of my life that I’ll never get back. And it references the fate of its own content: that the items that for two months have found homes lining walls of my private studio, have been displaced yet again.