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Artist attempts to define nature of memory; Antonia Curry explores daughter's world through photos

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Indiana Daily Student, Artist attempts to define nature of memory; Antonia Curry explores daughter's world through photos >>

As Dana Sperry was watching TV a couple of days ago, he saw a piece about the fires in Southern California. The first thing survivors looked for were photographs, he said.

"Photos are the most important way to keep a memory," said Sperry, the associate director of the SoFA Gallery, where MFA student Antonia Curry's works are on display.

"The Possibility of Loss," which will run through Saturday, features Curry's Master's thesis show: a searing and inviting look at the world of photography, memory and childhood.

"This is a story about my daughter. And also about my memories of being a daughter," Curry said. "And about how those stories meld into one."

The pieces are a combination of collages and photography. Some of the work features mixed media, such as a collage of hair and snapshots taken in Curry's youth. Also, many of the works are accompanied by personal reflections and comments of the artists.

For all of its aesthetic qualities, the most prevalent theme throughout the pieces is memory and what memory consists of. The work evokes a sense of nostalgia, a remembrance of youth and why human beings hold some memories and let go of others.

"I remember being small, and looking up at my biological father's boots and belt. It's so strange what you forget and what you remember. I think that is reflected in this work," said senior Candice Coval, who attended the exhibit Tuesday. "I think she understands that being physically small is a reflection of being small inside, and what that feels like. I think that's very important to these photos."

The visuals in the photos are perceptual and they are realistic, but still possess an inherently imaginative quality. As memories sometimes seem to fade and become like dreams, so do many of the colors and lights in the photos.

There are four large photos on display, depicting the artist's daughter as a small child. "Mad," is a portrait of a child screaming in frustration. "The Mitten," captures a moment of peace, as the child reads a story book.

The collages are also thematic, featuring dozens of inter-connected photographs. One collage is a mixture of snapshots capturing family life, and what those memories look like. Also, there are snapshots of places, such as a hamburger place and a sign at a county fair.

"They represent the vagueness of early memories, yet they are photos of everyday things. They are so powerful. She (Curry) really understands how memory is," said Coval.

The nature of memory is also depicted in the faded edges of many of the photos. The larger photos seem hazy and dream-like, but are made of colors that are sharp and vivid. In some of the collages, materials from Curry's own childhood are included, like a to-do list written hastily on a scrap of paper.

"This exhibit arose from my desire to begin at the beginning. For me, (the beginning is) to turn inward and explore the fundamentals of where I come from: home. The first chapter is indistinct, murky memories of my childhood,"  Curry said. "The second is a to-do list, the magnificent and mundane things that happen in life. Things to do. Things to remember. Lists."

Part of the exhibit also features snapshots taken with a toy Fisher Price camera by Curry's four-year-old daughter. The photos reflect the child's innocence in their tone and subject matter.

"It is my view of what my daughter's world looks like," Curry said. "The possibility of loss is the comprehension that in every moment of a child's life exists the potential for loss of innocence, of naiveté, and of trust."

-- Contact staff reporter Olivia Morales at 12/11/03 >> go there
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