Eastham Family Exhibition Series
August 5- September 18, 2016
Mementos. Keepsakes. Sentimentality, and the use of objects to preserve memory. These are symbols of evolution and transformation. It seems a natural human inclination to collect ‘things,’ if for no other reason than to help us to remember, to reflect on past states of being, and to have something tangible to tether us to experience.
My work has always grappled with past, with what has personally molded, broken and rebuilt the person who exists now. An overarching and significant piece of this work has focused on home—the icon of the house, the concepts and emotions that pull at the contentious relationship between the ideas of ‘house’ and ‘home,’ and the inevitable networks of human connection that sprawl outward from this epicenter like the dendritic patterns that compose suburbia. But as we break free of the constructions that both shackle and shelter us, what is it we take with us?
Humans act much like hermit crabs, moving from house to house as a crab to a new shell. Perhaps the old one had been outgrown, or life’s proclivities have made it necessary to downsize, or maybe a sense of wanderlust provoked nomadic adventure; the houses we inhabit are simply empty shells, and what we build, break and inexorably take with us are the memories along with evidence of personal growth and hardship that occurred in each place. The idea of homes past is very little about the shell of roof and walls and almost entirely about everything that a particular shell was filled with, both material and immaterial. Home is both personal and communal, stationary and completely peripatetic. So, like a quiltwork of tactile memory, one could represent an entire life by building the patterning blanket of keepsakes from transient moments of home. Objects, little houses, reminders of what is left behind as we move and grow, placeholders for ephemeral pieces of ourselves that will always be taken with us as we build into an uncharted future.
Fun & Games
August 5 – September 18, 2016
“Fun & Games: Essential material by Elizabeth Morisette”
Work that incorporates toys and games in weavings and basket forms to explore the consumerist nature of contemporary childhood.
Artist Statement: This series of work was inspired by the birth of my 2nd daughter. Our oldest daughter was 11 years old at the time and we had long since given away all of our ‘little kid stuff’. Upon the 2nd daughter’s birth, I noticed a surge of games, toys, and other items slowly descend upon our household. Some were gifts, some were hand-me-downs, all of it was generous and kind, but very little of it was actually necessary. Much of it was ‘made in china’ and some had no obvious value in the raising of a child. Reflecting back on our 1st child, it all seems to start with a ‘baby shower’ where you are given many items deemed as ‘essential’ which become giveaways as the child quickly outgrows their ’necessity’.
In this show, I explore the waste associated with this cultural phenomenon. All of the items used in this work have been free, acquired through others’ cast offs, giveaways, garage sales and thrift stores. These items have had a previous life as a toy or game and now they are considered something of little worth to the previous owners. I have taken these items and organized them in weavings and basket forms; attempting to create beauty out of junk.
This work is intended to speak to the viewer on several levels; the first as a whimsical ‘contemporary archeology’; seeing toys and games you might have played with as a child. The second is to contemplate the waste of our throw-away society. It is a bit staggering to consider the sheer amount of items that have been used in this work which would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. The third is a thought to take home with you the next time you consider purchasing an item for a child (or yourself): Do I need this item? Can I buy it reused? What is the ‘true cost’ of this toy? Beyond the monetary cost, what is the opportunity cost once it is no longer ‘essential’?