EXPLORING IDEAS OF MEMORY, ABSENCE, MORTALITY, AND THE PASSAGE OF TIME - ARTIST NATALIE BRADFORD


Natalie Bradford is from Detroit, Michigan and recent graduate from the University of Western Michigan Frostic School of Art, with a bachelors degree in fine studio art with an emphasis in print media. While at school, Natalie had been exploring the medium of printmaking and other alternative forms of mark making such as drawing, painting, and collage. She has exhibited artwork locally in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Ypsilanti, and Lansing, as well as internationally through PxP Contemporary Gallery. She currently lives and works in Kalamazoo, Michigan.



I explore the ideas of memory, absence, mortality, and the passage of time in my prints. Our memories are naturally inconsistent and fleeting; it’s impossible to remember everything in our lives clearly, especially as we age. Important memories move from short-term memory to long-term memory. And every time we recall memories from our long-term memory, in particular, some of the information either gets lost in the retrieval or our brains fill in small gaps with other memories, resulting in a slightly different and ever-changing “false” memory. Through those countless retrievals, our memories of those precious loses its “truth” as our brains start to fill in the blanks with other memories or narratives that aren’t consistent with what really happened.



My artistic process starts with identifying my sources; I pull my inspiration from family photo albums, dating back to the 1950’s and 60’s. I made photocopies of the pictures and physically cut out pieces of the image to strip it of its details, which speaks to the absence, the mortality of people/places, and the fleetingness of memories. I end my process by transferring the scraps onto a new piece of paper, using lacquer thinner, a photo transfer chemical.


In consequence of those countless retrievals, our memories of those precious moments lose its “truth” as our brains start to fill in the blanks with other memories or narratives that aren’t consistent with what really happened. Through printmaking, my prints become immensely abstracted from their original start as a photograph, which shows the inconsistent and ephemeral side of our memories.


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