Lisa Cassell-Arms’ collection Aide Memoir (An Aid to Memory) is currently on view in the Griffin Main Gallery as a part of the Atelier 33 exhibition, open until March 26, 2021. Lisa’s Atelier work centers around the curious truth of gardens and the way they can be a source of reflection and comfort for its visitors. To learn more about her process of creating Aide Memoir, we asked Lisa a few questions.
How has your photography changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic? Has the Atelier been a motivator to persevere through these trying times?
For me, the Atelier has been a game changer. Pre-Covid, I was creating photos and working very much on my own. Ironically, it was the lockdown itself that allowed me to participate remotely in the Atelier. I don’t live in MA, so under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have been able to take part. The benefit of working through projects with feedback from our instructor Meg, along with sharing perspectives and ideas with others in the Atelier was invaluable and will propel me forward.
What do you hope we as viewers take away from viewing your work?
I hope that viewers will take a few moments to imagine themselves in the quiet, early dawn of the garden, and allow a kind of free-association as they take in the shapes, shadows and clipped forms. And then let their gaze wander to the edges where the mood shifts and where the path may be harder to discern.
What is the significance of documenting both the cultivated and the wild or natural space?
I’m interested in the contrast between cultivated space, where human presence (and control) on the landscape is evident, and where we have historically retreated for comfort and healing; and the wild space beyond the edges of the garden, where human presence fades and nature is unbounded. Placing them side by side invites a contemplation of two very different natural spaces.
Tell us what is next for you creatively.
The project I’m working on currently is a series of merged landscape images, inspired by antique stereoscope cards. The aged cards have a slightly unreal quality that has always intrigued me. In my series, I pair landscape images that I’ve shot in different parts of the world, at different times, so that when placed together, they enter into a conversation with one another. The visual dialogue between forms suggests a new, hybrid land.