“Keepsakes” was inspired by the masses of foliage that blanketed the New Orleans landscape in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Struck by the natural patterns of vines and how they decorated the surfaces of the city, Mary Jane Parker began photographing, drawing and cutting stencils of them.
References from history, medicine and botany often inform Parker’s work as she looks for affinities with the natural world and our human desire to organize it. Pairing dissimilar elements together and finding a connection is fascinating to the artist and her current work explores these ideas.
In “Keepsakes,” faces of anonymous people are grouped with prints of pressed plants and heirloom doilies. Photographs, once records of people of importance, become obscured by other items of more importance slid down into the same frame. Reasons for keeping a piece of lace or a pressed flower are forgotten and what is left is a collage of pattern.
This current body of work is a lush, yet slightly uneasy collision of patterns, mementos, nature and the disquiet of suppressed memories.