Embracing her mother’s death almost fifty years after her passing, the artist Nancy Patz uncovers a critical moment from her past. Losing her mother as an adolescent, and being an only child, Patz mourned privately and quietly.
It wasn’t until a later age and after having children and grandchildren of her own, that the artist decided to reclaim her loss and confront the silence and suppression she had experienced. Carving an exchange between past and present, the artist uses her personal archive from family albums and recreates portraits of her mother, in drawings, paintings, as well as rescans of photos she often uses in her collages.
In these oeuvres, Patz provides us with a glimpse into her private family life by depicting intimate moments and scenes, showing her mother in different stages: childhood, motherhood, her relationship with Patz’s father, at home and moments of leisure. By redrawing these scenes and looking at them through her adult eye, both as a mother and grandmother, her emotional confession gracefully presents the cycle of life: birth, marriage, and death - important passages in Jewish tradition. Recreating these moments of transition enables Patz to process the grieving more openly. The artist creates works which offer emotional awareness while examining the complex and ambiguous nature of memory, both individual and collective. “What if she were here now?” is one of the artist’s most pressing questions, which she returns to as a way of examining the notion of time passing, and mourning the fact that her mother will remain forever in that time capsule, while generations move on. This series serves as a closure, where the artist finds new meanings in these preserved memories.