With Watershed, the artist is attempting to create new, false memories by collecting and re-imagining the stories surrounding discarded mementos. As its starting point, the project uses watershed stories collected from anonymous participants. The stories are then paired with discarded photographs and objects that illustrate the moments that, ultimately, constitute a life.
This (manic and desperate) practice re-forms and reframes the memories, giving them renewed meaning and imbuing them with a fictional narrative. Ultimately, they are given new ‘life’. The trophies and other objects are symbolic of the common moments we all share. Almost everyone has won a trophy or two, gone to a wedding or high school dance, or gotten too big for a garment they love.
This project examines the life these objects take on after they have been discarded.
Don’t be fooled by its bubblegum pink palette and cheery disposition. Watershed finds, as its starting point, nostalgia, memory, and above all, loss.
The exhibition includes a series called Forgotten Classmates. Six cross-stitched portraits of children from her kindergarten class that she can no longer recall. The subjects were chosen from her 1975 yearbook.
There is also a series of portraits called Hot Pink, painted using intentionally low-lightfast paint that is intended to fade over time.
Many of the works featured in Watershed are based on discarded family photographs and supplemented with anonymous stories collected by Pawliw over the last 20+ years. The paintings, stories and sculpture create new narratives intended to replace the ones lost to time.
Shannon Pawliw makes art, but she is also a graphic designer. To see some of her design work visit mightysparrow.ca
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