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Fade like a sigh

January 2019
Glass Gallery, Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

Curatorial statement

When she was 18, Rana Young drove 450 miles from St. Louis, Missouri to Lincoln, Nebraska to meet her mother for what’d be the first time she can remember meeting her. In his twenties, Zora J Murff made a similar trip from Iowa to Chicago to see his father, who’d left when he was a child of four. This shared constellation of what-ifs and could-bes became the starting point for Fade Like A Sigh, Young and Murff’s ongoing collaborative project, which attempts to follow their absent parents’ footsteps as a means to reconcile that loss. In place of that absence, a tableau of what it means for a boy to need a father or a girl a mother formed.

Conversation often begins with a question much in the same way art-making does. Words possess the potential to better know one another; the visual possesses knowledge to understand constructs both abstract and concrete, past and present. Each endeavor is a call in search of a response, but the response from the visual becomes more obscure as what we see creates a gap between what we do know and what we think we know.

Together, Zora J Murff and Rana Young began mining their own family histories, exploring the void left by an absent parent. The images in Fade Like a Sigh reflects their dialogues of this shared experience. Using their personal small collections of family photographs and reinterpreting them through their own contemporary imagery, Murff and Young highlight the complicated relationship between photographic record and the fragmented and abstract nature of memory.