No memory is perfect. They fade and resurface, reshaped by time and emotion.
Three Victoria artists, Lorraine Douglas, Kathy Guthrie and Susan Underwood are bringing that theme to Gallery 1580 for their exhibition Imperfect Memory, opening May 22 and running until June 2.
Douglas feels strong nostalgia from her memories watching her mother and grandmother sew clothing for her family while growing up in Winnipeg.
“I have very strong memories from childhood of them sewing. Everything in my home was made. We would go on exciting trips to buy patterns and materials … So my pieces are very tactile,” she says.
Douglas has a series of multi-media works, some fabric art and a collaborative series of mono prints (with Underwood) in the show.
Guthrie was inspired by road trips to the family cabin near North Bay, Ont. with her eight brothers and sisters. “Every year, from the end of June to Labour Day, we would spend at the cottage,” says Guthrie. “We had so much fun swimming and playing with the kids and playing in our little red row boat,” she says. “We sold it at 14, and it’s funny, we’ve gone back, but as a child you think of things a certain way and when you go back everything is different.”
Guthrie’s prints reflect that summery feeling of sun-kissed children on the beach, incorporating family photos printed on rice paper layered in the prints using a Chine-collé technique.
Underwood says that while her work doesn’t have a central theme, she was inspired both by childhood memories and those of her colleagues. “The focus on the theme has been very collaborative,” says Underwood. “I saw Kathy working on her stuff and like any memory, it starts you thinking about your own memories. And that goes for techniques as well,” she says. “Kathy was using a technique that I hadn’t tried and after seeing her do it, I started doing it too. It will be interesting when we get it up on the walls of the gallery if those inter-connections come out.”
Underwood will have mono-prints, mixed media art and acrylic paintings in the show. The three artists have also collaborated on a series of postcards that will be available for purchase ($5) as a souvernir.
Underwood and Douglas run the Cecelia Press Studio in the old Burnside School on Jutland, where they have a Takach press. Guthrie rents space in the studio. All three are members of Ground Zero Printmakers Society.
An opening reception will be held Wednesday, May 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. (1580 Cook). A closing party will be held in the gallery June 2, where people are invited for an afternoon of making postcards from 3 to 5 p.m.
“This whole process has been quite meaningful,” says Underwood. “Not just the work, but what’s behind it.” M