Tracing Memory Exhibition

©Angie Buckley, ©Pedro Isztin, ©Cyrus Karimipour, and ©Paula Luttringer
clockwise from top left: © Angie Buckley, © Pedro Isztin, © Cyrus Karimipour, and © Paula Luttringer

Don’t miss the Tracing Memory exhibition at the Light Work Gallery in Syracuse, NY. Curated by our own executive director Miriam Romais, it features photographs by Angie Buckley, Pedro Isztin, Cyrus Karimipour, and Paula Luttringer.

November 3 – December 31, 2008

The artists chosen for this exhibition create photographs that look at the idea of remembrance—letting go and making sense of past events, and using those memories to understand who they are today. Angie Buckley relied on the conflicting recollections of relatives, in order to piece together her own family history; Pedro Isztin’s color portraits metaphorically integrate formative childhood memories, using them to heal the adult, that child has become; Cyrus Karimipour revels in the flexibility of memories and uses his images to visually recreate them to depict how he remembers an event or encounter; and Paula Luttringer faces her own traumatic past, infusing her imagery with what other women remember about being abducted and held captive during Argentina’s Dirty War. Romais states, “These artists show us how the most emotionally laden experiences persist, while those left untouched most likely become memory traces … fragile and ephemeral.”
—Miriam Romais, Curator.

Read Patricio Maya Solís’ review below:

“My words echo/Thus, in your mind. / But to what purpose / Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves/,” wrote T.S. Eliot in the celebrated poem “Burnt Norton.” Memory captures time, but then it flees, hides, or just dissolves—a complex phenomenon to explore, to say the least. Eliot succeeded in his poem because he didn’t just list memories: he traced memory and mirrored it with language.

Fortunately, “Tracing Memory,” an exhibition at Syracuse’s Light Work Gallery, curated by Miriam Romais, intelligently approaches the difficult theme of memory. The groups of photographs by Cyrus Karimipour, Pedro Isztin, Angie Buckley, and Paula Luttringer are composed of images dealing with each artist’s particular personal or social context while cohesively exploring memory as a group.

Karimipour approaches something akin to two-dimensional sculpture by distorting the human form and its surroundings. Isztin builds metaphorical tunnels between childhood and adulthood in his colorful portraits of adults with their childhood photographs taped on different parts of their bodies.

Instead of engaging with her subjects directly, Buckley merely evokes them, as in a memory. In “i saw you thinking,” a passport-sized photograph of a young woman rests on a snow globe while light filters through the window and an empty glass base, creating a magical sense of distortion, longing, and movement

Luttringer’s prints stand out because of the unity between her concepts and the photographs. That is, meaning is inferred not so much from outside elements placed by the artist (as in Buckley’s and Isztin’s photographs of old photographs) but by the crumbling cell walls under scrutiny. Testimonials of kidnapped women during Argentina’s Dirty War placed next to the photographs add important context, but the terrible beauty is all within the highly contrasted, x-ray-like inkjet prints.

Each set of photographs in “Tracing Memory,” varies in approach, intent, and abstraction. Viewers may focus on a single artist’s work at a time or go back and forward between artists. In any case, as in Eliot’s poem, the dust on memory’s bowl of rose-leaves will be disturbed.


Can’t make it to the show?
Order the accompanying exhibition catalog from, Contact Sheet #149

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