Paradigm Gallery is pleased to present Memory Palace: Down the Rabbit Hole, the gallery’s second solo exhibition of work by Philadelphia artist Sarah Detweiler. Following the debut of her “Hidden Mother” series in 2020, Detweiler has since explored new themes of nostalgia and sentimentality by revisiting her own childhood and adolescent memories. The exhibition will feature the artist’s first-ever installation works, as well as paintings with hand-stitched embroidered elements. Detweiler’s depiction of shrouded figures continues throughout this body of work, transforming her subjects into embodiments of the memories, moments in time, and past experiences that inform her practice. Memory Palace: Down the Rabbit Hole will open on Friday, September 23, with an opening reception from 5:30-8:00 PM, and will be on view through Sunday, October 23.
The exhibition title refers to a mnemonic memorization technique known as the “Method of Loci” through which information is retained and retrieved by conscious mental association with a specific physical location. In the context of Detweiler’s work, each painting or installation functions as a “room” in the artist’s “memory palace,” with specific memories encapsulated therein. The visual representations of Detweiler’s memories are skewed from reality, like the memories themselves, from super-sized silly putty to hand-stitched static from the late-night glow of a television set.
In 2021, Detweiler’s last solo exhibition at Paradigm, mOTHER, ended on the very same day she gave birth to her son. The timing felt symbolic for Detweiler, as one chapter of her life as an artist and mother closed, and a new one began. “Hidden Mothers” allowed the artist to grapple with the isolation and invisibility of motherhood, reclaiming her own concealed identity from beneath the shroud and reasserting her value in the process. By contrast, Memory Palace shows Detweiler intentionally enveloping her figures in the comfort of a vintage Cabbage Patch sheet, or the geometric delight of an 80s-era ESPRIT sleeping bag, transporting both subject and viewer back in time to the visceral memories such fabrics invoke.
Watching her own children experience childhood in a global pandemic, Detweiler has found catharsis and joy in recalling her own experiences as a child of the 80s and a teen of the 90s, during what seemed like a simpler time. Likewise, Memory Palace offers a reprieve from the strange and complex reality of life in 2022, for adults and children alike, inviting viewers to fall “down the rabbit hole” into a warped reimagination of vignettes from Detweiler’s youth.
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Sarah Detweiler is a Philadelphia area-based visual artist translating her experiences as a mother into figurative and narrative paintings with hand embroidery. She has a BFA in Visual Communications from University of Delaware and a master's degree in Art Therapy from Pratt. Sarah has shown her work in solo and group exhibits in galleries across the country and virtually. Most notably, her “Hidden Mother” series sold out in two exhibitions with Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia. Sarah’s work has been published in Hi-Fructose, Create, Artit, MILKED, and Uppercase Magazines, and featured on art blogs including Colossal and The Jealous Curator. She has also been interviewed for multiple art podcasts including The Jealous Curator’s podcast, Art For Your Ear. Sarah's current work centers around themes of motherhood, nostalgia, and childhood memories.
Paradigm Gallery + Studio® was established in 2010 by co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston. The gallery exhibits meaningful, process-intense contemporary artwork from around the world. Paradigm Gallery is globally recognized and known as a tastemaker within the greater Philadelphia arts community. As the gallery grows, it maintains its original mission to keep art accessible. Through monthly donations, free public art installations, and initiatives like Insider Picks, Paradigm Gallery continues to be a champion of small businesses and emerging and mid-career artists.
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