contents of a dead woman's wallet

Over the past 15 years or so, my interests as an artist have returned time and again (even when encouraged to move away from intensely personal imagery and subject matter) to the place where displacement, loss, memory, and commodity meet. In my most recent effort, which I've collectively titled Who is Amanda Fisher?, I have applied a daily (or so) goal over the past year to make “art from ephemera” to a deeper investigation of the contents of my dead mother’s wallet, which functions as a sort of time capsule 28 years after she died. After I started the project, I was pointed to Jack Finney’s 1956 short story Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets, which has served as inspiration for continuing the project beyond the date of her December 28th death (the last dated material in her wallet was from December 24, 1988). I’m interested in confronting the relative value of these scraps of paper as they take on added meaning and significance through the distance in time and space from those original experiences. Furthermore, might it be possible to recreate a narrative, however fictional in nature due to the unreliability of memory's function over time, by replicating my mother’s actions as evidenced by, largely, receipts during her final weeks? What do these scraps of paper say, if anything, about my mother or her relationship to me, 11 at the time? What might this project reveal about my own choices and priorities 28 years later, not unlike Finney’s character, as I juggle the demands of my day job, a family, and my own creative needs and drives?

Those are questions I hope to explore, possibly in a more interactive way as well, as the project evolves in the first half of 2017. Stay tuned!

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