Reflections on memory and identity
I’m drawn to things that have layers of history. Be it handwritten letters, journals, old books, rusty metal, postage stamps, buttons, teeth, animal bones, or bits of fabric; my studio is filled with objects I've collected or unearthed. I'm a scavenger for the lost or forgotten things that have interesting textures, colors, and surfaces. I like to imagine the stories that these treasures hold. I'm inspired by organic forms found within the natural world such as pods, seeds, nests, eggs, and shells - mostly for the metaphor they hold as keepers, protectors, and incubators.
Tell Me Your Secrets and I’ll Tell You Mine, a wall installation featuring a series of wire forms encased in hog intestines, reflects on memory and identity and explores the space between intimacy and distantiation. There's an interesting duality that exists between the rusting wire structures and the fragile membranes that covers them – thin skins stretched over skeletal frameworks that are simultaneously repulsive and attractive.
When making this work, I was thinking about the experience of feeling alone in a crowded room and the detached, shallow conversations that often transpire at parties and other social gatherings. We all have a desire to be known and understood and yet we often remain guarded – wondering how people would react if we were to expose our true self. According to the developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, one must first have a solid sense of their own identity before they are able to experience intimacy and connection with other people. With a strong sense of self, it’s easier to open up to others, and be known in an authentic way.
Tell Me Your Secrets I’ll Tell You Mine is an expression of these ideas. The installation resonates a visceral vulnerability similar to the delicate nature of relationships in our modern society. Some of the forms are grouped together in clusters and some are separated from the others. Each form has an opening that allows viewers to get a glimpse of what is inside – a small offering of written communication. Some of the openings are wider, allowing for better insight, and some are more closed off, as if sheltering itself and withholding the secrets within.
To learn more about Leslie and her work, please visit her website: www.lesliekpearson.com.