current exhibition

Susan Evans: Kaiho/Sally Schluter Tardella: Memory Palace

September 7 - October 6, 2014

Opening Reception: Sunday, September 7 6-8PM

Curated by: Dick Goody

Kaiho features photographer and conceptual artist Susan E. Evans and Memory Palace, painter Sally Schluter Tardella.

Kaiho is a Finnish word evoking a feeling of melancholia for a lost paradise.  In her photographs, Susan E. Evans explores identity retrospectively and contemporaneously through images made in Finland after discovering that her maternal ancestors originated there.  These images reveal the Finnish landscape accumulatively and poetically; they also explore deeper memories using the very earth itself as a metaphor for identity.  Kaiho includes three bodies of work.  In “film” she buried rolls of 120 Kodak film in rural sites around Finland, documenting their location and then later disinterring the moldering film rolls as evidence of the effects of earth of her origins on the materiel of her trade.  In her “Kaiho” landscape photographs she skillfully renders the Finnish countryside without seeming to enter into it, keeping us slightly at a distance from the intimacy of actually being there, making her images all the more like lamentations for a place recently reclaimed from a tangled history.  In her panoramic “line” series, she creates an amalgam of all the hues and tones that conceptually resonate in her Kaiho landscapes. History, identity, memory and place are authentic catalysts, which in these new parallel bodies of work legitimize Evans’ emotionally wrought, reflexive vistas, which have become embodiments of her identity.

In Memory Palace, Schluter Tardella’s paintings and codices concretize the conceptual practice of recording a collection of memories. Her paintings are reminiscent of floor plans from an archeological dig and they are built up until the final layer of paint cures.  Schluter Tardella offers two versions of memory.  The paintings are declarative and convey a one-time version of events – an ossuary of recollections rendered down into a primary painterly structure.  Her books, on the other hand, are more open-ended, their catacomb-like progress being labyrinthine, serpentine and sequential. The rooms, antechambers and passageways of Memory Palace map the territory of memory in subtle configurations of earth tones, grays and ochers with occasional flourishes of color.  These taut surfaces of metaphorical accumulations are formalistically rendered in a language, which is idiosyncratic, universal and engaging.

Oakland University Art Gallery | 208 Wilson Hall | Rochester, MI 48309 | copyright 2014