Review of Morlan Art Gallery: Mnemonic Devices


The Morlan Art Gallery presented Mnemonic Devices from October 24th to November 22nd. This exhibition, curated by Emily Goodman, focuses on the memory of humans. As in the name, “Mnemonic Devices,” the pieces are meant to spark memories through captured images. These images come in many forms. Some are framed still images, some are put into video format, and one exhibit is even an entire room. 

Two pieces caught my eye upon walking in. Immediately to the right were photos captured inside the artist’s home. In remembrance of her grandparents, she projects the image of their house into her own to contrast the two times. The image of the sink shining orange in the projector light while the image of her grandfather’s sink brings out nostalgic emotions. This contrasting of time periods helps bring out the idea of Mnemonic Devices. This is meant to draw out memories of grandparents that have now passed by relating the different time periods.

In contrasting the time periods through the memories generated in the home, one piece takes a unique approach to drawing out memories of childhood. Located in the back left of the gallery, a room is sectioned off to recreate the home of their mother. This piece includes items from the actual home in order to fully replicate the feelings of nostalgia when living there. 

In video format is the time piece by Dr. Michael Mandiberg. They are not educated as an artist or painter, but they express themselves through visual art to promote “art + feminism.” This movement is moving forward to decrease information gaps in women studies and change the gender gap over time. Their piece involved their work life. Each day through the year of 2016, their laptop took a screenshot and photo through the camera every fifteen minutes. In addition, for this piece, they shaved their head and wrote a journal entry every day. This expressive piece allows the viewer to feel the time and thought process. When looking at the whole work, we are reminded of the messiness and growth in our life.

This messiness is included in my favorite piece. In a series of photos, images of people’s “junk drawers” are shown in their full glory. These messy drawers are a look into the personal life of many. It reminds us of who we are. These drawers often store essentials that we need and pieces of our life we want to hold onto, but have no place to store. Rubber bands, pens, and concert tickets give us a personal view into the lives of others and remind us to look into our own lives. When thinking about what is in our junk drawers, we remember what is important to us and we remember our history.

The Morlan Art Gallery’s Mnemonic Devices gives many artistic media to help us not only look into the memories of others, but look into the memories of ourselves. This art gallery focuses on capturing memories through videos, pictures, and recreations. Through Emily Goodman’s speech, the pieces are given new depth. The messages, and meanings behind the pieces are brought to life when you share them with others.