“Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past” is a truism today, originally from the lips of our great, philosophically-minded comedienne and actress Lily Tomlin. It means simply that we need to radically accept that whatever traumas we have lived through are part of the life experience that created us, and we must build from there. The past is a neutral building block that should engender no emotion from us other than gratitude for who we are today. Still, creative people cannot help but muse over alternate realities that might have been and, through the telling, make sense of the actual narratives. And while such musings can veer toward the pathological in the cases of Jack Early, JooYoung Choi, and Lily van der Stokker, these artists remake aspects of their pasts with glee. A Better Yesterday presents three personal histories and stories that are remade as ambiguously fictional situations.
Lily van der Stokker is a Dutch artist whose medium is large-scale wall paintings that might resemble childlike illustrations but always speak of the complexities of adult lives and the weight of our pasts. Many of her subjects deal with nostalgic reverie, remembering the past fondly and creating a rosy colored picture that hints at melancholia and loss. The artist intends to create a new work specifically for this exhibition.