Road Trip: Porter Mills Past Time Present Gallery Reception

In Search of Lost Time

Porter Mill Studios Presents: “Past Time Present”

by Chris Ricci and Joey Phoenix

“Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have of them.” Marcel Proust

The snowbanks that spanned Rantoul Street gave the roadway a rather beautiful sheen underneath the streetlights, making the bitter cold surprisingly bearable. Yet, despite the mountains of ice and the chill, people came out in droves to explore the latest show featured proudly at Porter Mill Studios. "Past Time Present" effortlessly proves that Porter Mill's ability to blend the work of a wide rage of artists into a seamless show hasn't faltered one bit since the New Year.  

There are a total of ten artists featured in "Past Time Present" who explore a variety of mediums that, on paper, would seem to contradict one-another. A quick glance across the gallery disproves this quickly and, if nothing else, shows that the rare tendencies of each artist were required to make this show truly unique. Time and memory were the strongest themes on display, and each individual take was not only an intimate invitation to the artist's perceptions on the flow of time, but also a humbling reminder on how memories are made.

Jennifer Toler's scattered and tarnished cityscapes provided a nostalgic and eerie vision into a nonexistent city that seemed somewhat familiar, while Karen Battles told a story without words with strings of antique family photos that creeped slowly to the floor. The collages of Betsy Kidder blended almost seamlessly with the patchwork of Leslie Lyman, while the rigid work of Marcia Fernald provided a perfect balance to the sleek retro sheen of Monique Luijben. There are pieces that defy explanation, and a simple summary not only would be an injustice, but would also contradict the point of the show. Why base your opinions on a show about memory from the memory of humble writers when you can explore the minds of these artists and add to the neverending theme highlighted by "Past Time Present"?  

Lights flickering on and off just beyond the window revealed a high hill of snow encapsulating the structure, the wintery scene adding a surreal touch to the setting. Gallery viewers, seemingly unperturbed by the weather outside, poured themselves tall glasses of wine before wandering about the small space. Some silently perused the various pieces at their leisure, occasionally pausing for some moments to take in the scene. These curious tokens of things past speak volumes of a long gone age, expertly securing the shadows of a life once known.

The coziness of the room also gave the art represented an enticing air, the play of light from the overhead beams drawing interested eyes closer. The contrast of old and new, like timelines layered thoughtfully over one another, impressed upon the viewers the illusion of stepping out time. Dressed in their finest, patrons would nibble on hors d'oeuvres and greet old friends before resuming their exploration of the gallery offerings.

Though memories are timeless, "Past Time Present" only runs for a short time. The gallery is open until February 28th. For more information, check out the Studios At Porter Mill online and on Facebook