May 30, 2009 - The Lining of Forgetting at the  Austin Museum of Art - Part II
     Maybe it’s because today is my birthday, I was especially drawn to Deborah Aschheim’s work “June 10th.”  Of course, it could just be the green Suess-like structure of her work - green being the color of brain waves on brain scan tests.  Or maybe just the shiny lights did the trick.
     Aschheim took three film loops of three of her birthdays, and surrounded them with a 3-D mobile, plastic tube and LED light network to map out her memories of each event - the people involved, the memories they invoked, and how they all connect to each other.
    The legendary European artist Louise Bourgeois took a Provencal route for her piece “Ode
de A L’oubli (Ode to Forgotten).”  At age 93, she took a life-long collection of linens - dish towels, handkerchiefs, etc. - and created individual pages of a button-hole bound book of memories.
     The patterns in the cloth pieces triggered memories and flashbacks of prior life experiences, and they are layered to create a brief life history.  One piece is screenprinted “I have a flashback of something that never existed” - illustrating a repressed memories that resurfaces later in the work via a repeating pattern.
     Janice Caswell took her experience working on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and created “Making History,” a wall-sized installation of graphic information from January 2007 to January 2008.  A series of colored dots stretch across the wall to map the ups and downs of the campaign - both factual and rumored.
      Through the caucuses, primaries, and election, Caswell charted the quanitified data of actual polls and outcomes, represented by one color.  A second color of dots represent the emotional memories she had form the time, as influenced by blogs, media stories, and the like.  Yet another color maps the field offices - and they all connect ot create a distorted outline of the state of Iowa.  The result is a graphic memory and perception of the campaign experience.
     Other ehibit pieces range from recalling Shakespeare from memory to digitally erasing the characters from classic Warner Bros. roadrunner cartoons.  It’s a bold exhibit, and one of the better to come through AMOA in - well, recent memory.

(Image: Louise Bourgeois, “Ode à L’Oubli,” 2004, fabric and color lithograph book, page
18 of thirty-six framed pages, 10.75 x 13.25 x 2 in.; Collection of the artist. Courtesy of
Cheim & Read, New York.; photo by Christopher Burke)