Diane Pepe

Memory Series

Memory provides the foundation for our understanding of the world and for our sense of personal identity...We are who we are because of what we learn and what we remember.1 While investigating the scientific processes of memory, I have encountered a myriad of thought provoking theories and concepts. In order to better analyze and understand these ideas, I have explored their meaning through the creation of visual images and structures. The sculpture, Memory As Construction Study and the relief, Memory Retrieval Wall Study relate to one aspect of memory retrieval. There are various types of memory including episodic memory that refers to memory for events that are embedded in a temporal context. 2 For an event to become a memory it must be encoded, stored, and retrieved or remembered. The details of an episodic memory are stored as fragments in various parts of the brain and during the retrieval process they are reactivated and reintegrated into a coherent event. Episodic memory is a constructive process.3

Memory Retrieval Wall Study represents the vibrancy of the reconstruction process. Each time we retrieve the episodic memory, it changes a bit, ever so slightly as we reconstitute the different fragments. The emphasis on the different parts of the event continue to shift as we remember some aspects more clearly than others, each time we recall the episodic memory.

The archival print in the horizontal plane of the Memory As Construction sculptures represent the original event that occurred in each work. It is the basis for both the sculpture and the related wall piece. In the sculpture, the printed, translucent layered Plexiglas panels are fragments of the original image or event that have been stored in various cortical regions of the brain. When we recall this event, we reconstruct the fragments of the memory together to a new whole. The sculpture represents the reconstitution of the fragments from the past reformulated in the present to express the episodic memory.

1. Eric Kandel, In Search of Memory, 2006, Eric Kandel, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
2. Michael Kahana, Searching Memory in Time and Space. Lecture at The University of the Arts, 2014
3. Daniel Schacter, Schacter & Addis, 2007, Nature;Phil. Trans. Royal Society B


Journey Series is a group of mixed media sculptures strongly influenced by a trip to Kochi, Japan. Qualities I found significant within the nature of the people I met and their culture are reflected in the juxtaposition of two elements: the wooden/brass structure that is ordered and strong yet delicate in nature and the river stones that represent a powerful force, constant movement and boundless energy of their spirit. Their sense of order, containment and quiet presentation is reflected in the wood/brass structures. Contained within the quiet structure is an incredible energy of great strength portrayed by the organic movement of the rocks. Although these qualities appear opposite, they actually live in great harmony, strengthening and celebrating each other's existence.

This concept has shifted to a more universal investigation of the dichotomy between the emotional/passionate side of human nature and the ordered/structured elements that we engage to control or order these emotions. This is seen in the most recent larger scale works completed in 2008, Transition and Center.

Drawings - Layered Cut-Paper Collage

The layered cut-paper collages are "discoveries." They relate to light, movement, subtleties, and inner conversations. The images begin as drawings that are cut up and layered onto other drawings to reveal new and exciting relationships, qualities of light, and dynamic structures. New ideas and meanings emerge from these discoveries. The formal structures reveal, hide and protect, or order the qualities that exist within. The excitement and joy is in the discovery and the emerging conversations.

Installations - Conversations

The juxtaposition of the sculpture when viewed with the layered collages expands the idea of conversations. The drawing/collages engage the viewer in an intimate relationship with the work. One is drawn closer into a dialogue with the subtleties of the layers and the soft images inside the edges of the cut-paper elements.

A more distant dialogue occurs when viewing the sculptures. One's grasp of the elements is from a farther distance, more removed and the interaction is on a more physically separate level. When both drawings and sculptures are displayed in the same space the participant is engaged in different ways and alludes to the idea of conversation on a broader level. Human interactions and conversations are multifaceted and occur on various levels of distance and intimacy.