Forgetting is so long by Daisy Patton

Issue 100

“Defacement is the confrontation with death and dislocation…”—Michael Taussig, Defacement

They say we die two deaths: the first is our actual passing; the second is when the last person who remembers us takes their final breath. Family photographs, vessels of memory, are integral to extending this quasi-life. They show a mother, a child, a past self, full of in-jokes and the mundane meaningful only to a select few. But divorced from their origins, these emotion-ridden images become unknowable and lost in translation, for they are intrinsically entwined with the intimate memories of someone. These images are timeless because photography can forever capture a moment—so much so that they have outlived their families and purpose, becoming orphans. As we drown in an overwhelming visual culture, what place does an old family photo have outside their original home?

In Forgetting is so long, I collect abandoned, anonymous family photographs, enlarge them past their familiar size, and paint over them. I paint to disrupt, to reimagine, to re-enliven these individuals until I can either no longer recognize them or their presence is too piercing to continue. Family photographs are sacred relics to their loved ones, but unmoored the images become hauntingly absent. Taussig states that defacing these types of objects forces a “shock into being;” suddenly we perceive them as present, revered, and piercing. By mixing painting with photography, I lengthen Roland Barthes’ “moment of death” (the photograph) into some semblance of purgatory. Not alive but not quite dead, each person’s newly imagined and altered portrait straddles the lines between memory, identity, and death. They are monuments to the forgotten.

A note on titling: all the paintings are technically untitled, but if there is any written information on the found photograph, that is included in parentheses. Otherwise, the bracketed wording is a general description.

Daisy Patton lives and works in Denver, Colorado.
To view more of Daisy's work, please visit her website.

Title: Untitled (The Gardener) Size: 80”x102” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2017

Title: Untitled (The Gardener)
Size: 80”x102”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2017

 
Title: Untitled (The Gardener), detail Size: 80”x102” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2017

Title: Untitled (The Gardener), detail
Size: 80”x102”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2017

 
Title: Untitled (Blondie) Size: 24”x18” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2014

Title: Untitled (Blondie)
Size: 24”x18”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2014

 
Title: Untitled (Subal 1970) Size: 40”x30” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2017

Title: Untitled (Subal 1970)
Size: 40”x30”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2017

 
Title: Untitled (Mrs. Bodenhamer £83) Size: 80”x60” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2016

Title: Untitled (Mrs. Bodenhamer £83)
Size: 80”x60”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2016

 
Title: Untitled (Five Patterned Women) Size: 72”x72” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2016

Title: Untitled (Five Patterned Women)
Size: 72”x72”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2016

 
Title: Untitled (Sunshine Quality Apr 10 1934 Never Fade) Size: 80”x60” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2017

Title: Untitled (Sunshine Quality Apr 10 1934 Never Fade)
Size: 80”x60”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2017

 
Title: Untitled (Irving Allen Fox Studio ~ Denver) Size: 24”x18” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2016

Title: Untitled (Irving Allen Fox Studio ~ Denver)
Size: 24”x18”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2016

 
Title: Untitled (A Bulgarian Funeral) Size: 80”x140” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2016

Title: Untitled (A Bulgarian Funeral)
Size: 80”x140”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2016

 
Title: Untitled (Two Women) Size: 80”x60” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2017

Title: Untitled (Two Women)
Size: 80”x60”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2017

 
Title: Untitled (8 yrs of age 12-22-75 Kee) Size: 24”x18” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2016

Title: Untitled (8 yrs of age 12-22-75 Kee)
Size: 24”x18”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2016

 
Title: Untitled (Agustos 1970) Size: 30”x40” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2017

Title: Untitled (Agustos 1970)
Size: 30”x40”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2017

 
Title: Untitled (Family Ties) Size: 80”x60” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2016

Title: Untitled (Family Ties)
Size: 80”x60”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2016

 
Title: Untitled (Vertigo) Size: 24”x18” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2014

Title: Untitled (Vertigo)
Size: 24”x18”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2014

 
Title: Untitled (In a Meadow) Size: 80”x112” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2016

Title: Untitled (In a Meadow)
Size: 80”x112”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2016

 
Title: Untitled (In a Meadow), detail Size: 80”x112” Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel Date: 2016

Title: Untitled (In a Meadow), detail
Size: 80”x112”
Medium: Oil on archival print mounted to panel
Date: 2016