April Is the Cruelest Month by Ilisa Katz Rissman
Central Library, Lobby Gallery
By juxtaposing photographs with a range of subjects and size, the artist presents us with flashbacks of a visual diary that illustrate the complexity and breadth of a mother-daughter alliance.
Looking back is never easy. What do we choose to memorialize and what do we choose to forget? Is memory ever a true representation of an event or rather, an interpretation we impose on the past based on our wishes, disappointments, hopes, and regrets?
This exhibition, inspired by images of memory and decay in T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, is a visual (diary) portrayal of my relationship with my mother. This is not about creating a defined series, but rather the careful culling of work from over a period of time in order to illustrate flashback-like moments both remembered and lost.
This selective harvesting of images has allowed me to discriminately deal with the pain of my mother’s loss. I remember her according to my own terms, using the images as a means of exploring my feelings associated with her absence. And although the sting of abandonment is as fresh as it was then, I’ve come to realize that I am forever attached (to her) through a universal cycle of nurturing, creation, and sacrifice. The breadth of our relationship encompasses all corners of my life, and in a sense, all of my work reflects back to my mother.
Ilisa Katz Rissman was awarded the 2016 Julia Margaret Cameron Award for People and Culture. Her other awards include PX3 Prix de la Photographie, Paris, The New York Photo Festival and The Photo Review National Competition, and Best of Show. Her work has been posted or reviewed in The New Yorker, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Forward Thinking Museum, and Slate. Ilisa lives in Brooklyn with her family.