Tuesday, June 13, 2017

ephemera


əˈfem(ə)rə/

noun
things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.
items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity.
Ephemeral Whisper
Judy Takács





Ephemera, a fleeting thing that takes its feathery place as a memory without taking up space as a reality. 

Human life is ephemeral.

My dad passed away in 2015, my mom, six months later in 2016. Having lived in the same house for the past 50 years, they amassed and produced a lot of things.

And by things, I mean writing. Both were professors. 

My dad had created mountains of notebooks, carefully penned in flawless Hungarian Cursive. Pages of equations with occasional words peppered in; “therefore,” “it can be concluded” “given” and “we can surmise” separated paragraphs of calligraphic sigmas, lambdas, x’s, y’s and equal signs.

To my artistic eye, these scripts were like Ancient Arabic, Chinese or Hebrew…so beautiful to look at, but (sorry) Greek to me.

Some of it (18 boxes actually!) went to be scanned and archived at Case Western Reserve University, (link to come) where he retired as professor emeritus in the late ’80s. My dad’s legacy as a Pioneer in Queueing Theory will be preserved and useful to generations of future mathematicians who can actually read these calculations…which, I’m told, are brilliant.

And some of the writings were absconded by me…as ephemera to incorporate into my art and to be appreciated for its visual beauty alone.

My mom’s writings were more readable.

As a professor of English Literature at Notre Dame College of Ohio, a scholar of the Irish Dramatists and Shakespeare, and a contemporary author and historian, she had mountains of beautifully organized notes for teaching, research, study and analysis. She had journals too…galore…which will be kept intact for the ages, and for me to read about who she actually was, independent of being my mom. She also sowed many seeds of ideas for novels and stories. These may some day serve as inspiration for paintings. 

I also absconded bits and pieces from her loose writings to incorporate into my art, drawing great comfort from her familiar handwriting. 

So I present to you my Ephemera Series.

Instead of posing myself yet again (some say all our portraits are really self-portraits) I chose my model as a timeless angel for the ages…collecting, defending and dispersing wispy whispers of Ephemera with luscious vintage butterfly nets and expressive hands and face.

Into my oil paintings, I collaged butterflies torn from my parents’ combined writings…floating, fleeting ephemera.

As with all the found things from my parents’ home, life and legacy, I try to pass them forward for a new life and purpose. 

Ephemera Collector
Judy Takács

I have thus far given pages of these written ephemera to Alia El Bermani in the form of a cut paper snowflake to use in her painting, to Leslie Adams for her “Handwritten Dreams” project at the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, to Amy Kesegich for collage work, to Karina Fassett as wallpaper inspiration, to a mathematical niece to fuel her STEM fire, and have dropped off three baskets full of everything ephemeral to Liz Maugans at Zygote Press for all manner of printmaking. 

I have also passed along boxes of jewelry from my mom and grandmother’s compounded collection to my favorite jewelry artist, Kim Mettee…who has fashioned them into two amazing commissioned necklaces for my sister and myself along with a host of other adornments.

Earrings and necklace by Kim Mettee Designs
inspired by pieces from my grandmothers jewelry from Istanbul

My dad’s books have found loving homes with the Math Grad Students of Case Western Reserve and with my own math-loving boys. My mom’s books on Shakespeare and Drama are the start of a library for theatre majors at Baldwin Wallace University. The Hungarian books have been carefully distributed in the U.S. and in Hungary by a good-hearted docent at the Cleveland Hungarian Museum. And a couple of Irish Fairy Tale books found their way to my Irish neighbor Teresa’s house to read to her many nieces and nephews.

Pieces of their furniture have become part of the collection of the Cleveland Playhouse prop warehouse…I’ve already seen one of their 1970s padded folding chairs in “Between Riverside and Crazy” just last month. There were no takers for their 60 year-old twice re-upholstered extra-long yellow French Provincial couch, so it now sits in my studio awaiting inspiration…and the right model. 




What I still have left, however, are many (many) writings. 

Zoom in to see the gorgeous handwriting from my parents’ ephemeral writings.


If you would like to incorporate some of these ephemeral bits of handwritten Mathematica and Literature into your art, shoot me an email with your mailing address at judytakacs@me.com. I will send you some to use as you choose…the ironic preservation of fleeting ephemera from one generation of creative thinkers to the next.

And, I'm happy to let you know that, for a limited time you can see my painting, Ephemera Defender at the Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. 



Ephemera Defender
Judy Takács

Please accept my invitation to…

In Memoriam

Manifest Gallery

Opening Reception:

Thursday, July 13th, 6:00 to 9:00 pm

and also during the
Walk on Woodburn Art Walk

Friday, July 14th, 6:00 to 9:00 pm



Show runs through August 11th

Manifest Gallery
2727 Woodburn Ave.
Cincinnatti, Ohio
manifestgallery.org