“An imagination is a powerful tool. It can tint memories of the past, shade perceptions of the present, or paint a future so vivid that it can entice… or terrify, all depending on how we conduct ourselves today.”– Jim Davis, from Garfield “Alone,” October 23, 1989
Miranda Becht is having a moment. One of only three students in the University of Louisville’s MFA program at the Hite Institute of Art, she is taking her three degrees and wasting no time positioning herself to have a positive impact in the Louisville and Southern Indiana arts community. This fall, she will be teaching foundation art courses as an Adjunct Professor at Bellarmine University, and be working as a instructor in LVA’s Academy program for high school students. She also has recently been offered an adjunct position at IUS. At the same time, she will a part of the St. James Court Art Show Emerging Artist Program and has been commissioned to create public art through the Jeffersonville Public Art Committee, Powering Creativity.
Becht’s work has largely been installation based, exploring how memory and nostalgia form our idea of the past: “I have always seemed to long for some sort of metaphorical home located somewhere in the past. Homesickness is defined as the longing for a particular home, nostalgia as a longing for a lost time. Nostalgia may carry with it a yearning for home, but it is a home faraway in time rather than space. Nostalgia, oftentimes used to refer to something sweet and pleasant, is bittersweet. It is the longing for something that is unattainable.”
“As a society we tend to idealize our vision of the past, particularly our vision of home. Our idealized notion of home presents itself as a supposedly traditional form of domestic life, but bears little relation to the way people actually lived. This concept of a cozy home full of family love is an invented tradition. Inevitable in our linear understanding of time, we are constantly being uprooted from home and from the past. Because of the fallibility of our memory, the past and home as we remember them, no longer exist. I mourn for a home that perhaps I never had.”
Becht cites “The pleasant, nostalgic sadness of something lovely and lost. I would sit and play with an odd, white vessel, full of wonder about its use and its origin. This vessel seemed so big, so white and pure, so curious. My grandmother told me it was a bedpan, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I realized just what a bedpan was. My most cherished childhood memory is soiled with urine and feces. Lost innocence often takes the guise of idealized memories. My work is a vehicle for my fetishized, fragile memories. I am pressured to be the object of desire… this untrue illusion, the ideal.”
Becht’s work is filled with mid-20th century design layered with a cotton-candy colors (she seems especially fond of pink), which adroitly captures the unique collective memory of what is arguably the most idealized period in modern American history, the 1950’s. The artist reminds us that what seems too good to have been true, often is.
Education: MFA Sculpture, University of Louisville, 2017; BFA Ceramics, Indiana University Southeast, 2012; BA Printmaking, Indiana University Southeast Minor Psychology, 2012
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.