“Passing Time” Commemorative, Historic and Family Collages

by Karen Phillips Curran

Passing Time – a series of historic family collages

I never met my grandfather, yet the “Passing Time” series of historic family collages begins with his photo album.

The photographs depict candid and posed shots of the places and people he knew and loved. He finds them at their homesteads, out camping, picnicking, in the city, or out in their fields. Their names are lost in the mist of time. The more I looked at his album, the more his, and their, stories began to emerge. Once we are gone, our story, as we would tell it, is lost.
Passing time takes over.

I felt I needed a more complex medium to depict the stories apparent in the photos. I turned to using my favourite kind of charcoal drawing, for spontaneity, Polaroid image transfers for their intensity, and collage, for a mixed media approach.

These three mediums, combined with healthy layers of shellac give the historic family collages an amber like finish. Just like amber, they are caught in a golden glow of the past, recorded for us all to see, even years from now, when we have passed.

As the bulk of the population ages, our past and family ties become more important.

The “long view” begins to develop and the need for touching base with, and preserving the past, becomes more relevant.