Waking and Sleeping

June 26 – September 1, 2012
Opening Reception: Sunday, July 8, 2012
1:00 p.m.– 3:00 p.m.

“Why did I wake since waking I shall never sleep again?”
William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!

Inspired by William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, John Shorb explores ideas of memory and loss in the American South using a mixed-media approach of printmaking and drawing to create works on paper, wood, and fabric. From the cotton plantations of the South to the industrial iron of the North, each piece gives us a glimpse into the novel’s themes of struggle, decadence, and ruin. Through this meditation on our disjointed past, Shorb assembles a new reality for today. The opening reception for this exhibition will be featured as part of the 39th Annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.

John Shorb states, “Faulkner opened up a way for me to process the ways in which we remember a painfully proud history. It gave me access to a method of experiencing the complexities of the past that very few people address.” Using the printmaking technique of solvent transfer, Shorb combined his own images with appropriated materials such as the novel’s text and images from the nineteenth century. This technique allowed him to layer these various sources, conveying the residues of history and memory, as if these images have been burned or rubbed off onto etching paper, antique napkins, or pine panel. Some pieces include silkscreen techniques as well as drawing with charcoal, graphite, and ink. Shorb’s work addresses one of the central challenges of Faulkner’s novel: the vital yet futile need to piece together our collective past.