I Am Half Sick of
The Parting Gift
In her debut solo show “August and Other Stories ” German-born Canadian artist Jeanine Brito presents 11 works that at once indulge and undo her own August memories. With each painting, she seeks to capture not what occurred, but her recollection of what occurred, at once more and less real than what one might say ‘really happened’. We come to know Brito through these paintings, her likeness appearing in almost every one—cupping a bee, cutting a tress, lighting a candle—clearly depicting the moments from her point of view. A notable exception is “The fallibility of memory”, where we see Brito from an outside perspective, as she contemplates the growing holes in her sweetest, most cherished memories. Through these self-portraits, the artist gets at the tension between what is and what she perceives, asking, how much of the self I paint is an idealized self? Can we ever really see ourselves honestly, whether it’s in our memories or in the mirror?
The paintings serve as a collection of vignettes that call attention to how we remember. Reflecting the experience of recalling a memory—how you alter it in hindsight to reflect the new ways you’ve come to know yourself—they equally remind us of the fragmented video clips that make up so much of our digital world. Brito stages the scenes in an almost theatrical way, with the composition of each piece invoking her designer eye, as though she were carefully framing a photograph. Ultimately, this project of capturing memory—and thus, identifying the ways in which memory betrays what once happened—gets at truth by simply stating: This is how I have remembered.