Sarah Polley’s 2012 film The Stories We Tell is an attempt to document the true story of the relationship of the director’s mother and father. Mixing faux home movies with genuine archival material, the film muses on the unreliability of memory, and the inevitable blending of fact and fiction that memory ultimately becomes. Sydney-based artist Mason Kimber is interested in the way cinema can both influence and direct our recollections of the past – and has used a series of film stills as the basis of a new collection of abstract paintings entitled Screen Memory.
Kimber’s paintings are a haunting combination of decipherable figures and structures that fade into soft brush strokes of abstraction. An apparition of an image in gentle tones that is familiar – but dissolved before it can be fully recognised. “I think all media imagery can have an effect on the way we picture our own memories,” Kimber says. “Films in particular though, because they focus on a small moment in time and hold our attention by amplifying it, making it bigger than it actually is.” He lists close-up moments such as a view into a doorway, a pair of keys or a wallpaper pattern as being capable of manipulating any accurate view of the past.
“I try to build up a library of this type of imagery by constantly taking screen-shots of whatever I'm watching,” he explains. “Then it's about combining 'realistic' depictions of these small close-ups with an equal amount of loose painterly abstraction.” And as such, his process is not so dissimilar to the way memories can be forged – a blur of different images, of truth and fiction, or as Kimber says, “Like a constant sense of deja-vu.”
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Mason Kimber’s Screen Memory will show at MOP Gallery from October 24 to November 10, 2013.