National exhibition centers on memory

The Jackson Dinsdale Art Center (JDAC) invokes previous successes and hosts a new exhibition that is different than any other before. Memory Palace is the first national open call for entry art show known to be presented at Hastings College.

143 artists from 39 states applied to showcase their work with an open theme. The exhibition was curated by Kate Mothes, independent curator and founder of Young Space, an online-based curatorial project featuring artists and works. Mothes visited HC in February to present on her work in curating and how web and social media platforms play into artistic feature.

Memory Palace is a compilation of works that center around the themes of memory and childhood. This theme emerged throughout works submitted to the open call, which influenced the curating of the show.

“It was more about the ideas that emerged from the open call and trying to find specific themes that came out. So that’s kind of where the curating creative aspect of it came in,” Mothes said. “It’s still a really diverse group of media, but one of the themes that kind of stuck out to me from the submissions that just happened to come in was themes having to do with memory, childhood, home, domestic spaces, that kind of thing and not necessarily very sometimes a little nostalgic but not necessarily always really positive either. So there’s sort of a lot of sub-themes that I think emerge through that by putting a group of work together.”

The pieces generate the idea of nostalgia through a variety of ways but ultimately present similar ties that bring the cohesiveness seen in the show.

“Images of interior spaces, spaces within the home. I think also in addition to representational imagery — images that we can recognize by looking at — there are a lot of non-representational images or purely abstract images that share some similarities in color palette, shape and of course format ... I think beyond that some really strong architectural notes, so strict geometries, straight lines in addition to actual photographs of architecture too, so those formal qualities, both real and abstract are consistent throughout,” said Kevin Mercer, gallery director and assistant professor of art.

The exhibition as a whole presents a range of work that embodies the world of contemporary art. The show features upcoming and mid-career artists that delve into personal narratives through exploratory materials and presentation. The works challenge the traditional narratives presented to mediums that give a fresh perspective while remaining approachable. Memory Palace is a castle of new themes in art that play on past perceptions.

“When a viewer walks into the gallery to view Memory Palace, I think they’re going to be struck by the relevance of the work in terms of the larger art world and the art market,” Mercer said. “I think the type of work shown in this exhibition is on par with some of the most important exhibitions currently on view, it’s very much aligned with the contemporary art world right now. I think they’ll also be struck by the quality of the work ... I think that they will be able to see and recognize the theme of the exhibition.”

The reception takes place at 6 p.m. on Mar. 1 in the main gallery of the JDAC. The exhibition will be on view until Mar. 27.