In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard states; “Memories are motionless, and the more securely they are fixed in space, the sounder they are.” Working on stage crew, taking a space from ideation, through design, seeing it come to life during construction, and inhabiting it through the run of a show, the memories become embedded in the fabric of the sets, fixed as securely into the space as the materials are to each other.
Yet unlike most of our spaces, sets are broken down, back to its elements, right after a show closes. The space no longer exists, broken down to raw materials and reused. To look around the set room or any backstage space is like looking through a collage. Memories, set pieces from different shows layered on top of each other. One piece used in multiple shows recalls many memories. The lines between them become blurred. Everything recalls memories, triggered by color, shape, contrast: the elements of our visual nature. Pieces of the set are reused show after show, re-cut, re-painted, re-built, so that one 2x4 symbolizes so much more than a building material.
My latest phase of paintings seek to capture this cycle of construction and deconstruction. Elements mix together, abstracting the complete picture and creating a more complex, richer image. Color, form, contrast, space come together to create an experience rather than an image. The pieces and memories of the show taken out of context. A walk through the backstage.