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Time Out of Mind

multimedia palimpests by Michael Merry opening Friday, May 4th 2018 from 5 – 7pm and on exhibit May 4th – June 29th.

Time Out of Mind refers to a span of time that extends beyond the reach of memory. Many of our traditions and practices take their significance from the idea that they seem to have existed for such a span of time. All at once they seem very old and very relevant the present moment. It seems like they always have been and always will be. They are the past, they are the present, and we tend to presume that they will be the future. The longer an idea or a thing or a place or a name has been around the more fixed and constant it seems to be.

This is a fine idea and I like it very much. However, it is a false idea and fails to take into account the fact that the only real constant is change. Like the telephone game where one person whispers a thing to another and the phrase evolves as it moves down the line. Past or future iterations of anything familiar become less and less recognizable the further they move from the present moment.

The many elements that make up this body of work exist in a similar kind of space. Elements repeat. Sometimes they’re consistent across several compositions. Sometimes they have different iterations; changing colors, changing mediums, shifting from positive to negative, and so on. Some have a clear beginning and end. Others seem to have intermittent roles here and there, existing as part of one thing for a while and then independently elsewhere. Still others exist for a moment and then never appear again.

These works are ongoing, meaning that I continually work on them. I add to or subtract from works that were started ten years ago. Some works might come to dead ends and get completely covered over with a new beginning. Yet the old layers are still there, however invisible, still part of the new thing. In fact, the new could not have existed without the old any more than the present we live in could have existed without the past.