Rebecca Keller: Portable Memorials and Abject Objects
@ Riverside Arts Center
32 E. Quincy St., Riverside, IL 60546
Opening Saturday, October 23rd, from 3PM - 6PM
On view through Saturday, November 27th
Exhibition dates: Saturday, October 23 – Saturday, November 27, 2021
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 23, 3-6pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, November 14, 2pm
My work has often focused on the intersection between art, audience, and the wider culture, negotiating the terrain between private meaning-making and public symbolism. This exhibition is derived from my interest in ad-hoc, informal tributes, like congratulatory wreaths and roadside memorials, as well as objects that sit on the border between public declarations and private sentiment—between beauty and kitsch, the comic and the tragic.
Recently our lives seem shaped by a sense of loss—and the near certainty that many more losses—people, places, species, common experiences or values—are to come. These sculptures reflect upon these emotions, and engage nostalgia, aspiration, and empathy. The visual language: flowers, ornate text, wreath and urn forms-are commonly used in commemoration and “momento mori” but the materials are kitschy and degraded. These materials: artificial flowers, scraps of foam, salvaged and thrifted objects, lumpy clay—are potent metaphors. They share, perhaps ironically, a long half-life of environmental and emotional impacts, even as these works participate in a language of temporary commemoration.
Rebecca Keller is an artist, writer and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hyde Park Art Center; the International Waldkunst Biennial; the Estonian National Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum; the International Museum of Surgical Science; the Tartu Art Museum; Elmhurst Art Museum and many other locations. Honors include two Fulbrights, an American Association of Museum International Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Illinois Arts Council.
Facebook: Rebecca Keller
Image: Rebecca Keller, “Remember,” 2021, Repurposed found artificial flowers, vintage dresser drawer, photographs, foam, paint, 30x18x4 in.
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