Pop Song

13 May- 8 June

Installation Images

Memory is a funny thing. Inherently duplicitous, we tend to ignore our own ability to restructure events into memories, compressing reality into a block, 8-bit version of itself. In an argument, our own recollections are infallible. We compound them, reinforce them as facts beyond any dispute while at the same time claiming our opposition’s memories are false, poorly maintained records. The defining characteristic of human memory is in its fallibility, indeed, it’s essentially a myth.

The childhood you recall is not your own, it’s a construction, polluted by advertisements and retrospectives and cyclical fashion and snippets of songs that you heard in your parents car on a drive to visit relatives. Sometimes, in their truest form, these memories are reduced to pure sensation. Mine is being sat in my Mum’s Honda Civic, a car that I know I can’t picture but one which my mind is attempting to construct even as I write this. I don’t remember what the car looked like, where we were driving or how old I was - but I do remember The Drifters’ (a band name I had to google) Saturday Night at The Movies playing on the stereo, my Mum’s affected American accent singing along, the warmth of the sun (a definitively false memory, cobbled together from every sunny car ride of my life) and the feeling of the seatbelt across my body.

This sense-memory, a jalopy made from pieces of reality bumping into fictions, underpinned by the endless drip of pop-culture we’ve been on since birth, is the space inhabited by Kyler Garrison’s Pop Song. In this new body of work, Garrison encounters nostalgia through frosted glass. Inspiration is obscured, held at arm’s length, almost disneyfied. We are not encouraged to encounter reality in these paintings, really we aren’t encouraged to do anything, the works are depictions of scenes described to us by ourselves. An exercise in cold reading, or an opportunity to lounge in the warm waters of aesthetic piety - searching for recognition, basking in the softness of the work.

Paintings of memory can be tricky, like someone trying to strengthen a lie by being hyper-specific. Too easily can we fall into a hole of surrealism, arrogantly touting our own recollections as the gospel by which reality is defined. Garrison rejects this impulse, making paintings far more closely aligned with the purpose of memory, or the act of remembering, than the concept. Pop Song is a car ride in the rain, in your mum’s Honda Accord, while she sings softly along to The Eagles’ Hotel California.