History, Memory, Time

words: Carson Fox
images: Adelphi University

What does it mean to engage the ephemeral? If we tease the concept apart, impermanence unfurls to reveal deep complexity. The lesson of constant change is perpetually taught anew with every loss we suffer, and in those rare moments when beauty or bliss subsumes us. In its totality, the ephemeral defines the nature of human existence, impacting how we conceive of our lives and our world.

The 2013 inaugural Ephemeral exhibition at Adelphi University showcased works that explored the ephemeral chiefly by using temporal materials and environments. As a continuing annual theme, the 2014 Ephemeral exhibition, subtitled, Unraveling History, will examine how historical narratives change when told from the vantage point of other, often overlooked perspectives.

History, memory, time. How can art define the transitory?

The 2013 artist panel featuring sand artist, Joe Mangrum, dumpster artist Mac Premo and New York Times art critic Ken Johnson.

The 2014 exhibition will represent a wide variety of voices. Some artists, such as Duke Riley, Sarah Peters, Patricia Olynck, and Lynne Allen wholly reimagine history or engage in a dialogue with historical figures. Artists Skylar Fein and Ken Gonzales-Day use their work to underscore what accepted historical narrative has neglected. Others, such as Monica Chulewicz, consider the unreliable nature of memory and its impact on our perception of reality. In this way, the fluid, unfixed and ephemeral character of history and the narratives that it engenders — as well as those that remain untold — are scrutinized through the lens of time.

The 2014 Ephemeral events will include a panel discussion; a dance component with choreographer and Adelphi University alum, Melissa Riker; an interdisciplinary, campus-wide interactive sidewalk chalk event called Chalk UP!; and an exhibition reception, all planned for Wednesday, October 1, 2014 on Adelphi’s Garden City campus. Join Adelphi University and consider how artists have explored the shifting nature of history, memory and time. More information will be online at adelphi.edu after the summer.

Exhibition curator, Carson Fox, is a visual artist and associate professor at Adelphi University. Her work has been exhibited all throughout the United States and internationally.