Angels in Your Beer, David Risley Gallery
My grandmother wears a crocus yellow swimming costume, and I, too young to be embarrassed by or for her, sit upon the picnic table, occupied with poking raspberries onto my fingertips and waving them around like witches hands.
I own this snapshot: a physical and mental yellowing image of recollect. And with it, I can even extrapolate the now-fuzzy minutia: the coconut sun lotion, the berries staining both skin and clothing.
These are my honey-coloured memories. My amber-hued, nostalgia steeped, butterfly-collections of time. Yet I am a scavenger, a stealer, a thief. I prise these sloughed and forgotten moments from others and take them. I replace whatever is bitter and broken with a stranger’s nugget- to roll around and suck on, to savour, to revel, to own.
Angels in Your Beer finds the chicklet-sized moments discarded from books, photos and junkshop clutter, and collects, embellishes and engorges with drips and clots of paint.
To lavish and expend, to pay generous attention to, in a thriftless and profusely unrestrained manner is to give value, lend worth, and to make colourful and whole what was otherwise pale and incomplete.
In these paintings culled of photos, pinnacles are peaked, accolades received and just rewards are reaped. Some appear dependent upon no means of talent, strength or fortitude, yet merely serve to stand witness to the vaguely celebratory, the semi-special.
These, like most memories contained, aren’t the endgame. They’re not the highest, the greatest, the fill-in-the-blank superlative, they’re just the minor cumulative, the fragmented figments providing visual proof that our cobbled-together little piece of existence really existed.
My real grandmother, the one who takes long naps and lithium twice a day, once ate so many apricots in one sitting that she puked all night long serpentine ropes of gelatinous orangey pulp.
In reflection, a refinement, a filtration of truth, perfidiously unblemished, polishes the real like fine china, and leaves behind a smoothly mirrored surface in which to ruminate upon the cleansed patina of memory’s aftertaste.
This procured recollect stains my fingertips and lips a berry-red while the crushed ones make starburst patterns beneath my feet. The coconut lotion leaves my grandmothers pale skin shiny-smooth for hours after, while mine, bereft of such protection is dry and already as brown as a nut.