Art History II Gallery Write Up: (In)voluntary Memories

On Thursday, February 23rd, a new exhibition was opened at the Bret Llewellyn Gallery, (In)voluntary memories by Alysia Kaplan. There are four pieces of art at the gallery, a video, 6 photos arranged together, a small picture, and a projection. Alysia has an affinity for using different forms of art for her work, one piece in the gallery is a video made from old film, the second is 6 photographs, the third is a lone image and the last is projected onto the wall of the gallery.

To create the video Alysia took several other films and edited pieces of them together randomly. She says that there is no definitive meaning behind the film and that it’s up to the interpretation of the viewer. Overall this was done very effectively, the first time someone watches through the video they will likely try and find some shared meaning between all the films, creating their own interpretations. However, on subsequent viewings it becomes obvious that there is no real reason to why the film was put together the way that it was.

The six photographs have a similar design mentality behind them. For this piece, she chose a photo of a man face down in a pool, flowers at possibly a funeral, two silhouettes of people in a dark room, ribbon in a hat, someone extending their hand and that image mirrored. All the photographs are randomly put together, and like with the video Alysia says that the interpretation is up to the viewer. This approach seems effective because like with the film, most people will try and find some common thread between images to form some kind of meaning.

The next part of the gallery is a lone abstract picture. This image is black and white and composed of the words “picture”, a white box, a black circle, white X’s and a abstract white pillar. Like her other images this is trying to mess with people’s pre-conceived notions about meaning in art. The image asks the viewer questions, why is the word picture there? What is the meaning behind the pillar? Why is everything black and white? Ultimately the viewer will come up with some of their own answers to these questions.

The final art piece is projected onto the wall of the gallery. This piece includes part of the films sound strip, so in a way the piece is representing visual sound.

Alysia’s work is highly reminiscent of the design philosophy behind post modern art. Post Modernism tells us that there is no universal interpretation of art or ideas that works for everyone. Everyone has their own truths and must create their own meaning behind art and life. Alysia says that she wants everyone to derive their own meaning from her art, to one person her edited film could mean nothing at all, while another person could find some abstract metaphor in the way that the clips are strung together. Every individuals’ interpretation is ultimately what matters and that is at the core of post modernism.

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