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Exhibition - Marissa Long: Borrowed from Dust

Thursday, Nov 28, 2019 at 12:00pm

Arlington Arts Center
3550 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201

Borrowed from Dust is a meditation on memory, loss, and impermanence. In her sculpture, photographs, and mixed-media works, Marissa Long utilizes visual and material symbols of obfuscation and mourning. The veil, a central theme in the exhibition, evokes mourning but also masking and concealment. It references the line between life and death, public and private, knowledge and mystery. The veil manifests as a literal cloth garment, and also resonates in the show’s visual tropes, including in pools of darkness and mirrored surfaces which impede attempts at clear sight. While the works in the exhibition evoke difficult and even dark emotions, they also possess a physical allure driven by smooth, dark surfaces and concealed elements which only increase our desire to fully see or understand what is hidden.

Attempting to visualize what we’re unable to see, the work in the exhibition explores our strategies for understanding the incomprehensible. Without being able to fully comprehend death and loss, we translate our emotions through objects, totems, and myths. In some cases, these are drawn from organized religion but, for many people, loss is translated through everyday objects that are slowly (or suddenly) charged with new meaning, becoming spiritual symbols or surrogates. The familiar objects in Borrowed from Dust – flowers, candles, household ephemera – seem positioned in a state slightly out of reach. Blocked, buried, or fading from view, our understanding of them moves away from their innate physicality and is shaped by our own instinctive attempts to view them plainly. Our past is transfigured by memory, which is both an intimate, meaningful function of our own minds, and an unreliable narrator, crystalizing the distortions of our subjective experience.

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