Our Shared Past blends the personal and universal through the prism of family
[“It Was Supposed to be Fun.” All original images courtesy of Jefree Shalev.]
[“A Few Years Later,” photograph by Carolyn Brass, 2013.]
The phenomenon of memories can be as slippery and ephemeral as the combination of passing time and thought that lifts them into our consciousness. Does every memory that we keep carry with it some importance and resonance? Why will one recollection occupy our lives while others are overlooked, dismissed or forgotten altogether? Refined through the spectrum of our feelings and emotions, the past can bring us joy, resentment, and even mislead us completely. When combined with nostalgia, that seemingly-universal longing for what can no longer be experienced, a remembrance can even turn into a kind of memorial. Nostalgia can be likened to a funeral where time is buried, yet we still insist on revisiting the headstone, in some weird hope of deciphering these memorials of our past.
And if there is an even greater collective resemblance of memory, it is that they are generally tied into relationships; reveries which seem tethered to our connections to lovers, enemies, our own place in the greater universe, and invariably family. Continue reading →
Overstreet Ducasse chronicles secret realms through the prism of popular culture
(a work from Overstreet Ducasse’s recent series, “Rock Paper Scissors.”)
Symbols, identities and dreams all merge in the visionary work of Overstreet Ducasse. The 37 year old Riverside based artist creates highly engaging works that address everything from politics and religion to national identity, yet rather than issuing his messages with the heavy hand of a zealot, Ducasse instead creates compositions that are guided more by a soft secrecy, a personally defined order of ciphers, logos and archetypes. Born in Haiti, at the age of six Ducasse moved to South Florida with his family. Encouraged by his parents to pursue his obvious childhood skills at illustration, in his adolescent years Ducasse began utilizing various paints to express his burgeoning creative desires. While in his late teens and early twenties, Ducasse discovered the music and mythology of the NYC hip hop pedagogues known as the Wu-Tang Clan, who he credits with inspiring not only his work but even subsequent life philosophy and worldview.
While Ducasse is quick to dismiss the comparison, visually his work finds some affinity with the Surrealist movement of the early 20th century. Faceless figures and grinning celebrities are juxtaposed alongside religious and occult-like icons, as objects as disparate as batteries, food and familiar product brands are seemingly chosen for their numerological and metaphysical values. Yet unlike the at times-rigid or manifesto-driven work of those same cerebral predecessors, Ducasse seems more directed by his recurring motifs and concepts by way of a loose and ever-changing system that is expressed in the form of various series. Continue reading →