Artist Statement

Kathleen Gerdon Archer

The two bodies of work that I explore using photographic and sculptural processes share much in common.

Each series considers the perception of passing time.

The photographic work, from the series Personal Geology, starts with the building of an ice form.

Personal items are frozen into layers intended to resemble the geologic strata of the earth. The individual seams contain torn personal photographs, organic matter, jewelry and writings, as well as rocks and seeds.

Each keepsake used in this construction is a marker delineating significant moments from a life, now held in layers of ice.

The form is removed from the container and its contents are photographed as it melts, slowly revealing the intimate contents. Locking each marker in time, the photographs are all that remain.

The sculptural pieces belong to a series titled Core, Mantle, Crust. Strangely beautiful items I have gathered on collecting trips include fossilized shells, bones and sharks teeth, remains from a shallow sea that covered much of our present-day coast during the Tertiary period. Rocks and minerals were cut from mines, collected from rivers or given to me by friends.

Just as an archeologist in the field might preserve items in plaster for future study, these items from the earth’s crust are held in a series of white plaster shapes dyed in colors like strata of the earth.

The small structures are placed, often precariously, on larger stones that support them.

Both the images of frozen memories and the delicate hand-held sculptures consider the fragility and mystery of life.