Memory reinvented

Eve S. Mosher’s Reinvented Nature Reinvented fails to convey the power of personal memory

Eve S. Mosher at her artist’s reception for <i>Reinvented Nature Reinvented </i>at Sierra Arts Gallery.

Eve S. Mosher at her artist’s reception for Reinvented Nature Reinvented at Sierra Arts Gallery.

Photo by David Robert

Six hours into the drive home, I shifted over to the passenger position, stared out the window at the passing trees, and drifted in and out of sleep while running the events of the day through my mind. Some friends and I had taken a quick trip up to the redwoods, and it was only hours before that we were hopping over the forest floor, losing each other in the fog, scrambling over toppled trees that had fallen to the ground years before. Everything was as it should have been—the air moist, the light soft and the forest silent. Only hours into the drive home, these memories were still fresh and direct. I hadn’t yet grounded them, trying to finding the right words to describe the scene to a friend, or perhaps in an article.

Eve S. Mosher attempts to document memories akin to these through sculpture and drawings. She describes her exhibit, Reinvented Nature Reinvented, on display at Sierra Arts Gallery, as “a myriad study of the passing of time captured in single moments.” These are the quiet moments that have stayed in her mind, “the silent majestic moments” of past experiences such as standing on a beach or in a forest, or watching sunlight escaping through leaves.

The works are fairly uniform in feeling, if not so much in form. Latex and twine hang from the ceiling, tamarinds in little sacks, bags filled with sand are pinned to a wall. Many of these shapes are echoed in charcoal drawings on large paper canvases. The works are odes to her own memories—personal and idiosyncratic—and therein lies the problem.

Art is personal, but the idiosyncrasies need to be accessible enough to engage the viewer, to communicate feeling, to invite participation, to establish a dialogue. Even the smallest responses show that a piece does indeed engage its audience. Mosher might address the minutiae in her own life, and may succeed, but why should she expect the viewer to be interested? I walked towards the center of the room, surveyed all those tiny memories, and decided that I was not. It wasn’t long before I found myself beginning to daydream about, as you would have it, those redwoods from only days before.

You might say my bouts of daydreaming prove the work’s success, that in staring at her tributes to memory, my own fleeting memories were somehow triggered and I was sent along a similar path. But I would attribute my lackadaisical meandering past Mosher’s work to, well, disinterest. The most engaging aspect of the show was helping to pick up a piece that had fallen off the wall. “Estranged” is a collection of small, handmade pillows probably knocked down by other visitors lost in their own thoughts.

Maybe the falling cushions comment on something abstract, such as nature’s decay in industry. Maybe the sand spilling from the bags represents time slipping away. Perhaps those old barnacle-looking forms are the shells of moments passed, or something like that. If Mosher intended to create art to be as nondescript and unmemorable as somebody else’s fleeting memory, then she has certainly succeeded. Call me irreverent, but I would much rather spend time gathering my own fleeting memories, wandering through a gallery and trying to remember them before they slip away for years. Perhaps I’ll take another trip up to the redwoods.