Monday, September 6, 2010
The Shoebox Photos
Painter Jenny Belin found a stack of old photos of her mother in a shoebox, three years after her death. The photo album rejects, as Belin calls them, shined a flashlight onto a private part of her mother's mind.
"In so many ways my mother was and is still a mystery to me. August 20th was the 13th anniversary of her death. I still miss her a lot. I know that I always will. Missing her is a process and also a puzzle.
10 years ago I made 58 paintings, all about my mother, inspired by photographs that I found in a shoebox she kept in her closet. Unloved rejects that never made it to her albums, the photos that intrigued me most were from when I was very young.
I wasn't even three years old the first time she had cancer. It wasn't that my mom was ever secretive with me about her illness. She was protective. I understand it better now, what drew me to those images. I was confused by them because they didn't accurately represent my memories. At the same time I found an honesty that I didn't see in the pictures that were my mother's favorites.
3 years ago, I felt that smiley happy family photos were completely phony. I feel so different now. For one thing, I absolutely love to see photos of my mother smiling."
See some of Jenny Belin's portraits here.