jen burdess
Memory is fragile; perceptions of self, influence and alter memories. My drawings capture fragments of memory and make them tangible. Using soft pastels on Mylar, each figure is accurately rendered. After the pastel stage of the drawing is complete I actively begin degrading the image, reflecting the deterioration of memory. As my work evolves I have begun to expand my exploration of this expression through textiles and other media.

Process and concept act as inseparable binaries in my work. Soft pastels on Mylar mimics the temporal nature of memory and can be washed off. Theorist Dr. Robert Sokolowski states that in regards to phenomenology our memories are stored perceptions. The mind does not ‘picture’ the idea of an object, for example, it ‘pictures’ the object itself. Sokolowski addresses how ‘the agent of self’ influences memories and alters them. The deterioration of my drawings replicates the
actions of the “agent of self” which is essentially the ego’s attempt to repair decaying memories. The subconscious repairs the memory seamlessly without intruding into the conscious mind. I create physical and permanent representations of memories only to expose them to an
uncontrollable solvent that acts much like our imagination. The figure itself becomes a tertiary element. Identifiable figures create empathy in an effort to associate meaning and recognition but
the intent is to use the figure to represent the decay of memory. The encroachment of rust upon the figure recreates the decay of memory. The deterioration of the drawings is ongoing. The solvents will eventually disintegrate the piece. This active decay is essential to the concept.

Through my process and concept, I am exploiting the delicate nature of memories. Perceptions become concrete memories, only to be influenced and changed by the subconscious mind. The solvents, like the mind, change and dissolve images but at the same time offer a new visual language in place of what was destroyed.