Shipwrecked in the New World Collage Series

                 

                                                          Adriatic Epiphany, 2013

Most of these collages date back to an exhibition I had in 2013, but they have a particular resonance for me today as John and I wait out the pandemic at my parents' old house in Los Angeles. Both of my parents emigrated to the US from Croatia (then Yugoslavia) in the decade after WW2. They've been gone for quite awhile now, my mom passed away in 2010 and my dad in 2018, but I have yet to fully reorganize their house. Every attempt to clean out a drawer or closet is an emotional excavation. Like many other children of immigrants I find all kinds of reminders of my parents lives in the Old Country , or as they called it, "Stari Kraj."  My childhood was steeped in nostalgia for the culture my parents were born into. The push and pull between past and present, which extended to me, is expressed in this series of collages. The formal Artist Statement accompanying the exhibitions is below:

 

"America is a place where the old world shipwrecked..."  Charles Simic, Dime Store Alchemy

The Shipwrecked Series is a personal response to a collective loss of memory and disengagement from the past. This body of work is inspired by fragments of history, both recent and ancestral, left behind by the generations of immigrants who came to the New World in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Stretching across time as well as continents, these paintings/collages convey a feeling of mystery and nostalgia for a past that was obscured by the search for an ephemeral American dream. While some pieces incorporate anonymous images that I found at flea markets and garage sales, others are based on photographs that I took while traveling through Croatia, where both of my parents were born. The abstract paintings were inspired by memories that can no longer be recalled visually or even described in words, but continue to exist in an emotional form.

 

                                        The End of Tkalciceva Street, 2013