I remember you, you make me smile, I enjoyed spending time with you, you made me laugh, I value you, you kept me safe, I like looking at you, I like the way you feel, I appreciate you, let me rescue you, I’ll keep you safe, I’ll give you a home, I like the way you smell, you’re beautiful, I love you.
This is the dialogue that happens in a nano second in my head when I find an object I want to own. This is the dialogue I subconsciously long for with people.
When a bicycle accident left her mother with severe brain damage, Stephanie Calvert began to reexamine what had been a difficult relationship. Her mother had been a hoarder — when the family moved to an isolated schoolhouse in Thatcher, Colo., she filled it with clothes, papers and other objects. Ms. Calvert was deeply embarrassed by her mother’s habit — she became depressed and “wanted to leave as soon as I could and move far away.”
She did leave, studying art at Wesleyan and working in New York. But after the accident in 2013, Ms. Calvert realized she’d never really dealt with the lingering shame and anger of her childhood — and that she wanted to do so by turning what her mother had hoarded into art.
So began “Shame to Pride,” a series of mixed-media pieces that will be on display beginning Thursday at the Rabbithole Gallery in Brooklyn. On several extended trips home, Ms. Calvert divided her time between caring for her mother and working with the materials she found in the schoolhouse. These she transformed into beautiful and unsettling shapes — torn fabric became a sunburst, disposable cups formed a skull, rolls of paper came together into blue forms reminiscent of coral.