Jason Pietra & Annette Masterman


05 Nov 2010 - 25 Nov 2010

Photomonth 2010

States of Recollection explores the subtle connections that link memory, stages of life and the passage of time using organic and found materials. Alluding to the traditions of memento mori in European art and the work of Joseph Cornell, these still life assemblages hold a mirror to forgotten objects, items that echo back through the years, or merely remind us of yesterday’s treasures, overlooked as time etches itself upon them.

The flower series capture a period of the life cycle where wilting leaves and pollen-stained petals are locked in the inexorable grip of decay. Left out for disposal they were collected and photographed in this twilight state. In illuminating the blooms at this crucial stage of atrophy and cellular breakdown our perception of the transient nature of their life is heightened, allowing a re-appraisal of notions of beauty. They retain a fragile poignancy, luminous in their faded grandeur, somehow more alive in death than in the perfect flourish of youth.

The box images comprise a selection of small treasures and mementoes, accumulated over time and grouped together to create shrines or secret collections, each one a miscellany of keepsakes from hidden drawers - personal effects, well-worn curios and objects that were cherished. Skulls and bone fragments have traditionally invoked themes of mortality and ephemerality yet somewhere in the peace and stillness of these images there are memories to be unearthed or imagined, tracings of former lives, movements to be recorded. Less a nostalgic reflection on the brevity of life and eschewing the symbolic motif of decay as a macabre portent, these assemblages are prisms to peer through, refracting the disparate elements within as they coalesce into a story in front of our eyes.

The aging process is often imperceptible to the naked eye, but just as time-lapse photography affords us a window on a hitherto unseen transformation, States of Recollection engages us at the moment the evidence begins to fade, unveiling beauty in the hidden and the neglected.