On March 20, 2017 I visited the Bet Llewellyn Gallery to view the installation of Alysia Kaplan’s works at Alfred State College entitled (In)Voluntary Memories. Alysia Kaplan is an Assistant Professor of Art at Hobart & Williams Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. The gallery consisted of three sets consisting of two photographs, a black and white framed image, and a projected altered image from a slide. There was also a video being projected on a wall continuously ending and restarting as I viewed the gallery. None of the individual works had name tags; The only thing the viewer gets is what they see in front of them and how they interpret the works.
The photographs where an odd mix of images combined in pairs. One combination was of a vase of flowers and under it is a man floating in a pool. Some matches are not so dissimilar; in another pair the same image of a set of hands is shown in both but the outstretched hand switches. The projected still image look disjointed and faded like an old video that has been damaged. The Video that accompanies these still images has no dialog and the only noise is the machine playing. The video was comprised of scenes from different unknown films that had been edited together into a silent film. The faded and aged images are similar to one’s memory fading and changing with time. There are
These artworks are similar to post-modern work in they make you question what they are as they do not tell you what they are and depending on the viewer each work could be seen as meaning many things as they draw on the viewer’s own knowledge and memories. Even though visitors to the gallery are looking at the same images, even at the same time, they can be thinking complete different ideas of the work. On Alysia Kaplan’s site alysiakaplan.com she states, “Using other people’s words in conjunction with my images I explore the dilemma of divided historical loyalties. The moment when a memory is no longer poignant or relevant, when an imagined or tangential remembrance seems more authentic than the one our mind experienced. The series questions whether or not we can rewrite these memories and thereby reassign moments free from the expectations they once held.” As viewers we may never have seen these images in our own lives but when viewed in a gallery we think on how a flower vase and a male floating in a pool go together or how something in our past relates to these images. This gallery prompts us to think on a meaning our just accept them as is but never has a definitive meaning without the artist to give their reason but even then we have our own ideas.