A car comes to a stop near the water’s edge. A man and a woman sit inside and the driver’s face is faintly illuminated by the dashboard. They’ve paused to watch the last light of day. A bright bar of light fits between the horizon and the otherwise cloudy and darkening sky which makes it appear as if the sunlight has pried open a heavy lid and is pouring its final energy into the gathering void.
The woman remarks that she wishes she could stall in this golden light for as long as possible. She says it’s always the same feeling she gets from looking at certain family photos from when she was a child; says she always likes to let her mind idle there but rarely gets her fill. They were both silent for a period of time and then the man remarks that no one can ever live in any moment forever. He adds that our precious time in this coil races out from under us without our realizing the proportionality of it and that if we did, we lose our minds living in the pure vigilance of it.
She turns to him, one side of her face the same glowing pink as carried upon the underside of the cloud layer. She says she realizes that; anyone would. But that her mind always returns to the moments that are most filled with light. These are places where she knows that thoughts cannot chase their tail like a dog.
The boldest of this warm light has dissipated to a fragile blue and the gray sky begins to show the reflective light of the city to the east. They put the car into drive and head towards it.
The expansiveness of the world squeezes down into the space illuminated by their headlights.
Imagine you are walking down a canyon near sundown. The canyon is roughly two hundred feet deep and fifty feet wide at your location. It has a sandy bottom and the walls are an orange sandstone. This slot runs northwest to southeast, and the top of the east wall of the canyon has the final light of the setting sun upon it. There are a series of bowl shaped spaces in the top tier of the wall and they are positioned as such, to be the final areas to catch the last golden light. The sight is arresting, but the earth’s rotation only allows you to bask in the sight for a few moments before the color begins to blend into the deepening blue of the sky behind. You move on down the canyon but the moment sticks with you for hours, years, the rest of your life.
All is impermanent; that much we can absolutely count on. It feels that things ephemeral have a great staying power. Our memory contains these items. But like the canyon, there are twists and turns in our ability to remember, and that makes a memory malleable. Like a star’s light reaching us long after that sun has burned out, we view our own memories through a dusty, discolored and somewhat distorted lens. But all the better. Perhaps it’s a survival trait that makes the bad memories soften with time and the good ones better.
I think of pictures from childhood that, aside from the coloration and technology applied in the picture’s processing, are a fairly true telling of that moment’s events. But to this picture gets attached an intricate structure of told histories, biases and personal mythologies. How I remember that moment is informed by a multitude of factors and is very likely to differ from my sibling’s recollection.
Some memories are born out of absolutely nothing. I have ridden a skateboard for much of my life. It is a simple act that involves very little material goods in exchange for a richly textured and layered world. The way I interact with skateboarding now differs from when my body was in its physical prime. It now is about perception, flow and movement. Which probably sounds trite, but there it is. But what I wish you to know about skateboarding for me now, is that it makes me stop thinking for a few moments. In our daily existence, there is really very little time in which we get the privilege of being truly in the moment. And obviously our species would not still be walking the earth if that was the space that we constantly lived in. Survival, as we are all very aware, involves lots of overwhelming abstract thought. But a touch of the opposite is essential to survival as well. Likes dreams, living in the moment allows our brains to wiggle out from under the sturdy grip of planning, forethought and labor.
So the title of this show consists of an impossibility. Light is never contained. It’s a slippery element. As we allow ourselves to be entranced by a particular slant of light or memory, it is tempered by the impermanence of the moment that generated it. The irreplaceable nature of these moments is what makes them stand out in the first place. I labor to fence them off, raise them up and elaborate upon them, knowing full well that gravity and time will take care of the rest. My trail of breadcrumbs that I pull through the woods will be observed, stepped aside from for a time and then buried under the storylines of others.