The new show at Mayson Gallery in LES has a prescriptive mission: it wants you to slow down, put away the technology, and take the time to savor the nuances in individual moments by seeing them reflected back in the collection of paintings currently on display. The group show reads like a visual manifesto: “these paintings and drawings embrace everyday life and the things that create dreams and memories from the past, present and even the future.” So they ask you to “put your busy life on hold.” Kristen Liu Wong’s work visually enforces the maxim, and out of all the artists her work feels the most explicit. The works are confrontational in a playful way; bright color palettes and characters feel like they’re out of an old SIMS game and make the viewer feel like they’re watching a foreign digital world unfold. The alter-realities the artist creates are caricatured just enough; the social critiques pop like the colors on the panels. This is what I mean by confrontation; the meeting between piece and viewer isn’t violent, but confronts the viewer by being just different enough so that social critique can emerge from the cracks of reality and alter-reality.
Artists like Rachel Pontious, So Yoon Kim, and Tamsin Doherty have more emotive approaches. Their work melts with nostalgia and a sense of longing dripping from wall to floor. In her artist’s statement, Rachel Pontious says:
“I fixate on pictures of my extended family, especially my grandparents in their heyday, 1950s America. For me it is infatuating to look at these idealized images as clandestine stories of broken family ties, infidelity, abuse, and ruined friendships cause the postured faces to disintegrate between my fingers. By referencing family photographs and then manipulating them I am creating a self-portrait that delves into the idea of what makes them—their insecurities, neuroses, physical attributes, personality traits—me.”
Tamsin Doherty’s approach is premised on a much different relationship of trust with reality, one that questions memory’s authority in comprising identity and how the mind can create a new past altogether:
“The photograph is the greatest ally of time’s illusion. The family album is an argument for the reality of the past, using photographic evidence to perpetuate a phantom self…It is through fantasy that a new past is created.”
For So Yoon Kim, memory is the collage that forms from “fragmented details” through the process of recollection. For Kim, memory reappears to us piece by piece, contrasted with Doherty’s approach which seeks to reconstruct memory holistically.
The exhibition is a peaceful blend of memory, both present and future, insofar as it both seeks to piece together a past while leaving open its possibilities for reinterpretation. “Future Memory” is on view at Mayson Gallery at 254 Broome St through May 17th. Featured artists include Tamsin Doherty, Rachel Pontious, Joshua Mongeau, So Yoon Kim, Monica Ramos, and Kristen Liu Wong. For more information, please visit www.maysongallery.com
– Amie Zimmer
All images courtesy of Mayson Gallery
 press release