My work is an exploration of memory. Part of my interest in exploring memory stems from experiences related to dementia and Alzheimer’s in my family. Displacement is another factor. When I was ten, I moved from a small place outside of Toronto to rural Nebraska. Although I have traveled back, I have relied on my memory and photographs to recall this part of my childhood. I paint from these photographs, the subject being family members of mine, or scenes that feel personal to me.
My approach to these paintings is not to replicate the photograph in a way that is photorealistic, but rather paint them softly as though they are a moment in memory. In painting these images monochromatically, choosing color for each work is an intuitive process. Sometimes, the color choice is an amplification of color present in the photo while other times it is the emotional response I have to the memory. These works are done using oils or ceramic underglazes on ceramic tiles. The ceramic tiles create a sense of permanence, solidifying the memory with clay. The physicality and strength of clay combats the fleeting nature of a physical photograph used for reference.
My hope for these works is to give the viewer an understanding of how fleeting these moments in our life can be, and to feel a sense of appreciation for the moments that we do have. I hope that in observing these, the viewer may place themselves in any of these memories I have translated into paintings and recall their own similar memories.
Jessica Reiter is an artist based in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is currently working towards the completion of her BFA with an emphasis in painting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, expected to graduate in December of 2020. Using painted ceramic tiles, she explores her relationship with memories relating to her family and home.