When we try to recall old memories, they usually come back in bit and pieces: faces of loved ones, favorite objects, and sometimes our mind fills in the gaps with things that never were. In painting her own memories, Lacey Bryant couples strangeness with a romantic nostalgia, like an incoherent dream. Throughout the Bay area artist’s work there is a sense of alienation or escape from modern life. Suitcase in hand, her subjects navigate a pretty landscape that can suddenly turn dark, from flowery pink blooms and stately Victorian mansions to fields of abandoned vehicles catching fire.
“There are things that have stayed crystal clear since childhood and others that fade,” Bryant says. “I could imagine a mind as a landscape with bits and pieces strewn about like forgotten memories. I’ve been interested in how certain objects trigger memories, not necessarily personal ones, but even collective memories of stories and archetypes that form a hidden language that we all know without knowing. I like the idea that the things that are missing from the picture are as important as the ones that are included.”
“While I’ve drawn a lot on personal memories, they are mostly just little bits of images that stick in my head inexplicably. I use a lot of objects and places that I feel are evocative not just to me personally, but speak to a greater shared experience of humanity in general. We can all approach a picture from different places, but if it’s successful, it will hopefully transcend those differences and bring us to a place of shared understanding.” Lacey Bryant is currently showing new work in her solo “Escape” at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco through June 4th.