Paradise of Pleasure by Mike Keaveney in the Nicholson Gallery

Opening Reception: Friday, March 13th
From 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Paradise of Pleasure
Photographs by Mike Keaveney

Artist Statement

“That nothing last forever is perhaps our favorite thing to forget. And forgetting is the ruin of memory, its collapse, decay, shattering and eventual fading away into nothingness.” Rebecca Solnit, Storming the Gates of Paradise (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007) 254.

At the core of photography is a resistance to forgetting, decay and fading away. Each recorded image rips a moment from time in an attempt at preservation. However, with every exposure to light, air and time, images degrade, technologies become obsolete and context is lost. Leaving behind futile attempts at permanence, abandoned archives and outdated recording devices.

These forgotten archives and obsolete technologies become the raw materials for my practice. Through re-use, assemblage, erasure and digital manipulation I bring attention to photography’s ephemerality, our inherent need to record and preserve. In Halos of Happiness I collected and assembled found 4×6 landscape photographs. Using bleach as an erasure tool and varnish as a resistor, I manipulated them into representations of the state of the materials and the landscapes they represent. Fading archives, chemistry, and technology; baring traces of the past but deteriorating from every direction.

Photography mimics the entropic nature of the world it attempts to preserve, a site of transient moments and landscapes. Within the United States it is difficult to understand the landscape, no matter how many representations are made of it. It appears to have hidden its own history, traces dissolved and architecture demolished. Devoid of the romantic ruins of the past, what remains is a utopic fantasy of progression. Paired with photography’s ties to representation I create futile attempts at understanding a landscape vibrating in a constant state of creation and deterioration.

Exhibition runs March 1st-31st, 2020