For years I have incorporated words into my paintings in a variety of ways. As I started painting for this exhibit, I became fascinated with the concept of ‘palimpsest.’
Wikipedia: A palimpsest is a manuscript page, either from a scroll or a book, from which the text has been scraped or washed off so that the page can be reused for another document. Parchment and other materials for writing or engraving upon were expensive to produce, and in the interest of economy were re-used wherever possible.
One thing about these “washed/cleaned” manuscript pages is that often the original text wouldn’t be completely obliterated. The residual writing remained and can be seen as a kind of ghostly image under the later script. I have worked to create this kind of imagery by using layers of paint ad collage materials that are semi-transparent. It is not my intention that the script in my paintings will be legible. I write things that are important to me (quotes, thoughts, poetry, song lyrics) on the collage materials that I glue into the paintings, but then I further hide the words. I want the writing to be obscured so that its essence is deep in the painting but isn’t clear.
For me, a palimpsest is a metaphor for the human condition where, as we go through life we have experience after experience. Our memories are layered over older ones and can become changed and distorted as a result of this. Who we are is made up in this way. This series of paintings represents our human layered-memory experience.
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