‘Atomic Family’ and/or ‘Resurrection Of Lost Memory’
Robert Bharda, digital artist (c) 2020
This collection is part of a larger family album of color slides taken by my father between 1948 – 1958 with a single lens reflex Leica that he returned with from WWII. The venues are all from the Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC neighborhood, upstate Hudson Valley.
In 1999, the collection suffered a nearly incomprehensible accident. Stored temporarily in a cottage basement on Pender Island, Canada, they were soaked by a water heater malfunction. The damage was not discovered for some months. The emulsion of 95% of the images had literally ‘melted’ into fields of color and as well were covered with dirt and mold.
I could not simply throw them away. Ten years went by before it occurred to me that the images still had a retrievable importance that transcended the original intent and framing. I began an ‘adventure,’ if you will, of digitally cataloging/cleaning/restoring the slides to document the significance that they still retained for me, and what expressive strength they possessed for a larger audience.
Sixty images remained ‘identifiable’ and another 300 or so had dissolved into pure form abstraction/vivid color not unlike my “smears/Quantisms.”
What have I sought in this…. rebirth/phoenix? That even in ‘imbroglio,’ an Aboriginal ‘soak,’ I’ve found recognition/identity/solace/surcease of sorrow in this ‘dreamtime’ window. In a very real sense, the images are for me ‘spookville’ big-time….but in a good way. Hand in hand with each view, is a ‘title’ which if anything offers the viewer a ‘key’ to what…I see in the image.
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