For her first solo exhibition at Silverman Gallery An Archive of Feelings selects new photographs and video works by Tammy Rae Carland that are themed around holding on to or at least remembering the things that are hard to let go of. On view from June 20 – July 27, 2008 An Archive of Feelings embodies Carland’s personal experiences and relationships to family, friends and ex-lovers. Borrowing its title and sensibility from Ann Cvetkovich’s book by the same name, An Archive of Feelings reaches out to the viewer without being overly sentimental.
Grief can often be so monumental that we resort to erecting monuments in it’s honor; things and places bigger than us, that tower over the delicacies of our experience, rendering our feelings inefficient and inept. But what of all the little things we save, or purge, the things that are supposed to survive when bodies, moments and love do not? What becomes of all the personal hand held monuments that can electrify memory and experience? They become photographs because for Carland, a photograph is literally a trace, a sign, a symbol or evidence of something that was, something that existed somewhere – however fleeting that existence might have been.
Depicted in An Archive of Feelings are what serve us when the love object goes missing and we attach ourselves to the thing, the fetish, the photograph, in order to fill the void, in order to mend the gap and not sit empty with ourselves, with our feelings. My Inheritance, the largest work in the exhibition is comprised of all the objects Carland took from her mothers house after her passing. These are not the objects left to Carland but rather the items that triggered an emotional reaction, a memory or a moment. The work is in that sense an homage or an archive, and leaves the viewer with an intense, sincere and uncomfortably emotional impression.
Of the 21 objects in My Inheritance most of them show wear or seem to have been used in everyday life. There is a beat up map of San Francisco, perhaps when Carland’s mother would visit, a crossword puzzle yet to be finished, a burnt crochet coaster and a box full of scraps. While My Inheritance is perhaps more embedded in the context of loss, One Love Leads To Another, is more closely related to the issue of time, personal taste and gifting. The personal mixtape is in many ways an art form and carefully selecting and ordering the tracks a mixtape can create an artistic statement that is greater than the sum of its individual songs. For One Love Leads To Another cassettes, cassette covers hand painted by friends and personal playslists lineup like an army. In this work, the songs, chosen by friends and lovers give us insight into some of Carland’s most personal relationships and at the same time acts as a gathering of distinct artistic practices.
What emanates from bodies, relationship and experience imprints itself in our memory via things and sensation, the thing itself holding and transmitting the sensation. An Archive of Feelings is an attempt to archive the impossible, the nebulous, the disappeared and the intangible – an incoherent archive of feelings.