Reflectors: Filling the Void

Walker Keith Jernigan in residence – Boccanera Gallery, Trento

Residency: May 1-30, 2014
Exhibition: May 24 – July 31
Reception: May 24 at 7pm

Curated by Daria Filardo

The American artist Walker Keith Jernigan has been selected for a residence at Boccanera Gallery in Trento. The site specific project developed by Jernigan is a research – pictorial and processual – about the memory’s elements, about the implications of the construction of a personal history. The artist has realized a series of portraits on different supports, objects and an installation linked to his family’s history. The work completed during the residence, will be shown in an exhibition opening May 24th in the gallery space.

Memory is selective. It omits, make choices, reconstructs in the course of time.

Or it can be said (almost as the opposite) that memory holds situations and fragments of experience. Walker Keith Jernigan has worked on the time of memory, on his family’s history — the one directly known and the one heard from words and documented by images. In the condensed time spent during the residence at Boccanera Gallery, the artist lets many of the protagonists of this narration appear and be unexpected illuminations in a dark nocturnal blue sky. The portraits constitute a constellation, they organize themselves in the gallery’s space, they draw trajectories, nuclei that reunite figures (parents and sons) that cross themselves with others (uncles, grandmother, girlfriend) weaving relationships not easy to untangle in visitors’ eyes, but clear for the artist that put us in a cross reference play and bonds of which we become part.

The gallery’s space has been transformed: blue walls will receive the paintings that, as points of light, will interrupt the faint space of memory. A space from which the artist lets fragments emerge. For this project, the artist transposes photographic images in pictorial objects. The starting image of the family album is translated in painting through an observation and symbolic rewriting process.

The artist doesn’t reproduce the photographic image by projecting it over the canvas but rather he uses the pictorial construction as a device that represents an image closer to the truth included in the memory through its signs and its traces. Painting in these works, at the same time, tells about a conversation about itself, about the condition of being a complex tool capable of a very strong universal ability of communication. The space of the gallery becomes an organic system that holds together every single piece and puts the visitors in another history, another mind, another dimension, not as a contemplative spectators but as participating actors.

The artist has created pictorial objects, closed books, realized with pieces of wood, where the family names appear; canvases and supports of different dimensions that underline both presence and intimacy in bringing to light the fragments of memory; and a more installation section in which a door (that physically contains two paintings, a love dialogue) is put in relation with a fracture in the floor, an excavated space that forms a river, a liquid indistinct place. All this elements are part of the process and pictorial work that Walker Keith Jernigan has produced during the residence and that are offered to the visitors as a mysterious combination full of references in which each one of us can find internal echos and correspondence.