In addition to presenting ephemeral time-based video works, several sculptures in the exhibit were inspired by Mahaffy’s recent Research Fulbright to Estonia and her snowy residency there. In Drift/Felt, Mahaffy presents wool in two states. In Drift, two “blocks” of carded wool reference both snowy landscape and the act of aimless wandering; in Felt, two felted insoles were created over two months by walking through the streets of Tallinn, Estonia. The work suggests the change in material via each step taken as well as the emotion and act of walking through the city.
Through video, sculptural and drawn works, Karen Mahaffy creates reminders of the exceptional contained among the ordinary and reifies our capacity to recognize it. Articulating the elements between familiar spaces, objects and experiences she investigates how place and time can become manifest. The works in Persistence of Moment collectively address the seemingly insignificant, singular act or event. These tiny acts accumulate to create a new aggregate visual artifact. The video artifact may replace the act itself; like the way single footsteps create a pathway; the single touch can collect to shine a spot on a surface. The collection of the tiny act accumulates to a degree that it – the accumulation- becomes more recognizable than the act itself.