The exhibition takes its name from the “method of loci,” an ancient imaginal technique used by Greco-Roman orators. This approach also referred to as the “memory palace” relies on the assumption that spatial memory of familiar places is the most potent mnemonic device. Using the memory palace, a subject can memorize the layout of an architectural environment, pairing each physical locus with a distinct fact. By imagining the experience of walking through this space, one can facilely retrieve this new material.
The three artists featured in Memory Palace explore this relationship between memory and architectural space. Tapping into fleeting, personal, imagined, and unattainable spaces, these artists negotiate the boundaries between lived experience and fictional, spatial environments. The intricacies and incompatibilities of the architectural constructions within these artists’ work capture how both fleeting imaginaries and enduring memories are invariably entangled in the built environment. Their works challenge the limits of spatial logic and demand that we reorient ourselves amid these disjointed landscapes.
Anid transforms old family photographs and her own images of Beirut with colorful overlays of oil paint. The photograph, a powerful mnemonic tool which can instantly summon an intimate familial memory, is assigned new meaning when Anid distorts the surface of the image with a layer of pigment. The certainty of the architectural spaces in her photographs is shrouded by painterly veneers and destabilized by memory’s alterations.
Earnest’s work is prompted by the perils and seductions of her personal spaces, and has recently broached the political arena as the personal has become political for the artist. A native of Alabama, Earnest’s painting “Sins Against Alabama” creates an imagined, upheaved, and fenced off space where the recent injustices committed by the state government reverberate. By creating irrational and impossible rooms, Earnest explores spaces where the private and the public fold in on each other. The resulting works underscore the ambiguity and uneasiness in these in-between spaces.
Olshan mines her surroundings and her previous compositions to both construct and dissect unattainable spaces, leaving us to navigate through her connected, speculative landscape, which unfolds across the gallery. In her most recent work, the artist builds on this practice by using a laser cutter to burn contours of her previous work into wood panel, resulting in a type of hazy recollection. While her landscapes portend an altered future, Olshan’s environments are neither dystopian nor idyllic; instead they offer an incongruous, but desirable prospect.
Together, these artists materialize their relationship with tangible and irrational space, interrogating the ways that one can reconceive a fixed memory of the past, process the disjointed realities of the present, and access an elusive, seemingly unachievable, future. In each capacity, their work speaks to the age-old credo that memory is a product of bodily experience in physical space and that the spaces we occupy are always subject to reinterpretation.
Memory Palace is on view at Equity Gallery from September 5th through October 13th, 2018.
About the Artists-
Audrée Anid is a Lebanese-American mixed-media artist whose work spans photography, painting, and printmaking. Her artistic practice often deals with feelings of dislocation and fragmentation. Anid was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and grew up in the Bronx, New York. She holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. She has exhibited at Photoville NYC at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Humble Arts Foundation, Equity Gallery, Brooklyn Fire Proof East Gallery, Gallery at BRIC House, and Robert Miller Gallery among others. International exhibitions include Arts Suzhou in Suzhou, China and The Beirut Contemporary Global Art Fair in Beirut, Lebanon. She was recently selected as an artist in the Artist on Art Program at Olana State Historic Site, in Hudson, New York in partnership with IAIA I Institute of Arab and Islamic Art in New York. She is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Jamie Earnest is a Pittsburgh based artist whose paintings explore the successes, tensions, and nuances of the idea of public space and domestic symbols, often tying together public and private space to continue a social and cultural commentary. Earnest is from Alabama and holds BFA in Painting from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art. Earnest is a recipient of the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship and through this fellowship attended the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Art during summer 2015. She has been in multiple group shows in Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Alabama and Suzhou, China. Earnest's work was recently featured at The Andy Warhol Museum. Her debut solo show, "Your Home or Mine?" opened summer 2016 at Cindy Lisica Gallery in Houston, TX. She was most recently included in a group exhibition, The Apotheosis of Homer at the Jinji Lake Art Museum in Suzhou, China. She has a current solo exhibition, Metaphorical Motorcycle, on view at The Union Hall in Pittsburgh, PA. Earnest current lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.
Kelly Olshan is a NYC-based artist and arts manager whose sculptural paintings depict the byproducts of ambition. She graduated Valedictorian from UNC Asheville, where she obtained a BFA in Painting, and received her MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University. She has exhibited in Birmingham, Asheville, and New York, most recently in a solo exhibition at Tucker Cooke Gallery entitled Perpetual Pursuit: Painting the Unattainable, and a group exhibition at Van Der Plas Gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. She has an upcoming solo exhibition at Sean Christopher Gallery in Columbus in December 2018, and a group show at Edison Price Lighting Gallery in Long Island City in January 2019. As an arts administrator, she currently serves as a Program Manager for Queens Council on the Arts, where she oversees fiscal and professional development resources for visual and performing artists.