Christina L. Desser: Between Memory and Desire
April 03, 2017 - June 28, 2017
at Commonweal Gallery
451 Mesa Rd, Bolinas, CA 94924
~Open Monday-Friday, 10 am – 4 pm or by appointment~
~Artist Reception Sunday, April 9 / 1 – 3 pm~
After a lifetime of professional political, environmental, and social activism, I decided to devote myself to painting, which, at one time, was how I had imagined I would spend my life.
In August of 2010 I embarked upon a traditional psychoanalysis. Many of my paintings follow a developmental trajectory unsurprising as part of my analysis. They were not painted as therapy, nor did I experience them as therapeutic, but I now apprehend them differently and find them unexpectedly illuminating of my psyche and psychological history. There is no question that the analysis and the totality of the analytical container—the analyst, the process, and our relationship—served as muse. My experience of a skillful analyst was numinous communion.
With hindsight I see that the paintings fall into two clear periods, delineated by my own memory and desire:
- In the earlier period, desire is paramount. When I look at these paintings, I recall the sensually satisfying act of painting: tracing the curve of a fingernail, deepening and highlighting the contours of a fold in a shirt, finding the reflected light on a belt buckle. The paintings in this first period embody experience both in the moment of the analysis and the act of painting.
- Memory predominates in the paintings of the second period. They are based on family photographs and most of them were painted after the analysis was over. I feel they embody experience in memory. The felt act of painting was subsumed by the presence of the memory evoked in the recently found photo and enlivened in the process of painting.