A. McLean Emenegger
Life is a bewildering interplay of real and metaphoric opposites – positive and negative, light and dark, beatific and abhorrent. It’s an ostensible push-pull conundrum, yet stasis is wrought by acceptance of the inherent disparate nature of life.
I have found that a prevalent theme in many biblical and cultural mythologies is the enforced separation of congruent opposites, things once whole being torn asunder. I surmise that a longing for unification is the crux of that which ails the human condition; a longing as the deepest form of lament over things once whole being divided.
The prevailing theme of my assemblage is that longing, an indescribable yet pervasive sensation that does not have a specific remedy or definition. My pieces are evocations of reclamation of the whole. Using found objects and family and found photographs, I assemble sepia-toned memories, distant yet familiar ancestries, in hazy dream-like vignettes and mythological microcosms laden with clues and codes that insinuate their tales. By using antiquated objects, I draw the viewer into the past so that the relationship with the work is more unconscious than readily recalled.
While the thrust of my assemblage work is more esoteric in nature, through my installation work I am more overt and cheeky in my insinuations and suppositions. These pieces still contend with life’s weightier subjects, but the demonstration is playful, pointing out the absurdity of various imposed and unwitting conditions as well implying compassionate resolve if we all lighten up a bit.
The outwardly disjointed manifestations of my work are intentional, permission to exploit dichotomy – reverence and irreverence. My assemblage denotes my more veiled, contemplative side while the installation work expresses my external persona- two sides of a complex human coin. One side proffers a contained volume; the other is on eleven.
A. Mclean is an independent curator, art writer, artist advisor, and visual artist career coach. She recently launched the art consultancy firm Milo + McLean and founded McLean Fine Art in 2004. As Director of Bandini Art Gallery,