BOUNTIFUL - Time and memory both paint their own pictures of our pasts.
Artist Nora Del Murdock explores the effect of both in her own life with “Family: A Retrospective,” on display now through April 30 at Lamplight Gallery in Bountiful. Though the portraits all beautifully capture their own distinct mood and time, certain details echo between them to hint at the deeper flow of years.
Individually, the works are brimming with personality, either the subject or the artist’s. “The Navigator” seems to radiate confidence, the determination of someone certain of the course she’s on. The young man in “The Mask,” on the other hand, is almost cocky, radiating the disinterested cool of a bygone era. “Mom Said!” a self-portrait of the artist, has a subtle humor.
Other works show people in landscapes, moments of a life captured in paint. The works are quietly lovely, but they’re most gripping as you start to find the parallels between them. Though seen largely from the back, the little girls in “Sweet Bouquet” and “Discovery” look similar. Seeing them, I began to wonder if they were the same girl, or sisters, and how many years had passed between the two moments.
In other paintings, the line of a jaw or the curve of a cheek echo between subjects. Is it a mother and daughter we’re seeing, or the same woman with years standing between the two paintings? What would the younger girl have thought if she could see the woman she would one day become?
The idea of change over time is also echoed in “Noah,” a partially finished painting of a young boy. It’s a fascinating addition, the roughness of the work surprising when compared to the crisper edges of her finalized pieces. It’s a testament to the journey every artist makes when she begins a piece, the act of creation as subtle and transforming as time itself.