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Daydream in Art

Claire Sedovic's “Friday, April 12”

Weeks Gallery, Drake University

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Detail from the series. (Source: Osterhaus)

Response from Jill Osterhaus

“Friday, April 12” is the name of a multiple canvas painting by Drake University student, Claire Sedovic in the Weeks Gallery in Drake’s Fine Arts building.  The paintings were of a carousel in a seemingly foreign city with each canvas proceeding to the right, the image became smaller and increasingly distorted.  The collection of canvases drew ties to fond memories in the viewer’s past that perhaps weren’t as sharp as they once were.  Thoughts of loved ones’ faces and voices that have now passed on came to mind and I realized the lines in their faces were growing fainter and fainter the more I tried to concentrate on bringing the image to mind. 

Sedovic captures this tug and strain of trying to hold onto memories quite well.  The final canvas is a stark white, a sobering final piece.  Instead of presenting a nice, pretty painting of a fond memory, the artist requires the viewer to move, not only their body as they walk along the canvases, but also their mind, searching for a memory of their own and becoming transfixed by the final canvas, realizing that even the strongest memories are fleeting. 

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Final panel from the series. (Source: Osterhaus)

“Friday, April 12” elicits both positive and unpleasant emotions.  While the piece is of a fond memory, the message is equally clear in reference to good or bad memories.  All memories, with time, fade away.  There is no answer for this paradoxical situation.  The harder one tries to hold to a memory, the more distant it becomes. Yet, how else is one supposed to sustain those images except by daydreaming about them?  Perhaps the answer is neither, or just not to remember at all.  “Friday, April 12” does not provide the answers to anything, but it calls to mind many questions about life, memory, and living in the past.  

Jill Osterhaus is junior philosophy and politics double major and minor in religion and history.