Tori Tinsley: Locating Barbara

Partially hidden behind a large pink frankenstein-ed being, a larger than life dresser shelving a pitcher, and a sectional wall was Tori Tinsley’s animation cycling through memorable events. Hearing the animation’s audio at the opening was limited by the acoustics of socialization within Eyedrum; though, it did not limit the effect of the video summing up the entirety of Locating Barbara.

A sense of sentimentality, nostalgia, and friendship washes over you as you watch a round, simplified humanoid earn an A++, another getting married, and another on an exciting bike ride with a friend. The bike ride scenario stirred my thoughts of a dream–of which I thought was a memory until recently–where I sliced off the flesh of my palm while using scissors to make some art.

Tinsley’s large cardboard and tape sculptures would be daunting without the Elmo style color treatments. A slightly swollen dresser holds a large pitcher above it, evoking the feeling of a child challenged to reach something they shouldn’t have. More in reach are giant cardboard cookies upon a lopsided plate. The sculptures feel like children’s drawings of fond memories.

Widely spaced are singlets or pairs of paintings with a similar Elmo style coloring. The pastel color ranges move away from the attention grabbing primary colors of childhood to a pseudo-setting folded into deep memory. Tinsley’s gestural strokes of bold colors are like finger paintings, foundational, trying to grasp onto the basics of a fading memory or thought. They’re also layered, as if multiple attempts have been made to locate a memory and accurately represent it. This is evident in Tinsley’s larger painting of a pool where broad strokes of blues look like exciting, vibrating waves; under one arch of a wave is a revealing of what’s below, fingerprint-sized marks of more various colors.

All in all, Tinsley’s Locating Barbara places me in a state of nostalgic recollection of someone else’s exclusive memory. Challenging me to wonder how distinctive our experiences are and what amalgamates nostalgia into a universal sentiment.

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