Exhibition Pick: Madeleine Wieand

Ashley L. Voss looks at a recent series of works by Madeleine Wieand, currently on view at The Front, and thinks about how we make sense of our memories.

Madeleine Wieand, Maggie Twice, 2016. Inkjet print on cotton and silk, thread. Courtesy the artist.

Madeleine Wieand
The Front
4100 St. Claude Avenue
July 9–August 7, 2016

You have been here before, but at the same time you haven’t. An urban balcony you enjoyed one afternoon. A lover making coffee in the morning light of your apartment. A brush of greenery on your way to work. Utilizing nondescript, yet eerily familiar, imagery of urban scenes and private moments, Madeleine Wieand transcribes fragmented memories in a way that asks the viewer to question their authenticity. Wieand’s current exhibition at The Front, “There is no knife connection,” depicts the ambiguous journey of recollection through photographic collage.

The gallery space is filled with 11 translucent photographs printed on fabric. The works are hung from wooden supports that allow the images to sway, a metaphoric movement in time between past, present, and future. Wieand captures her subjects on film, then scans the images, and prints them in ink on fabric. This multi-step process—from film to data to ink—allows details to disappear and emerge at every interval in a way that mimics the mind’s changes over time. Maggie Twice, 2016, overlays two perspectives of a woman sitting on a bench. The images emphasize the significance repetition has when encoding memories.

Each work contains at least two printed photographic layers sewn together, often overlapping. Sometimes the seams are hidden, while other works have frayed textile edges. The differences in form visualize the varying degrees to which memories stick with us. Some are more concrete and are recalled more easily and seamlessly; others unravel and fade away. Our memories are influenced by our changing perceptions, and Wieand’s work shows that visual and emotional interference can alter their accuracy. In “There is no knife connection,” she gracefully underscores the important distinction between the moment itself and our remembrance of it, suggesting that the journey, not the destination, is the point.