Our memories are our strongest connection to the past, but they're oddly unreliable; or rather, we somehow make a decision about what to remember and what to discard, which makes our memories an unreliable narrator. Ask two people who were present at an event to independently describe what happened and you'll get two different sets of facts. Artist Lisa Bulawsky explores this strange facet of our human existence in her latest series, Four Chapters in the Present We Were. Bulawsky interviewed older persons about their recollections of American history, examining the ways in which our personal feelings shape our creation of memory. Big events such as moon landings don't happen in a vacuum, if you'll pardon the pun; the people who watched that unforgettable experience filed it away with their then-crumbling marriage or their brother being deployed to Vietnam the same week, and so their unique emotional state helped forge different views of that moment. Bulawsky then combines these personalized recollections with the historical record to create idiosyncratic representations of our shared history. Four Chapters in the Present We Were opens with a free public reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, August 26, at the Millstone Gallery at the Center of Creative Arts (524 Trinity Avenue, University City; 314-725-6555 or www.cocastl.org). Bulawsky's work remains on display through Sunday, October 16, and the gallery is open every day.
Aug. 26-Oct. 16, 2011