Jeannette Montgomery Barron: My Mother's Clothes
Jackson Fine Art is pleased to announce our upcoming exhibition of the work of Atlanta native Jeannette Montgomery Barron. In her new body of work, Montgomery Barron meticulously documents in still-life the wardrobe of her late mother. The result is a collection with a compelling narrative that explores the complex interstices between memory and the tactile, evoking a complete life through the objects that surrounded it.
Montgomery Barron began this project when her mother, prominent Atlanta socialite Eleanor Morgan Montgomery Atuk, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Finding that the images had an extraordinary effect in stimulating Elie’s memory, Montgomery Barron began experimenting with the form, carefully selecting significant background patterns to create a multi-layered snapshot of the past. A tablecloth from Elie’s favorite restaurant, a well-worn Persian rug – the textiles paired with each article beautifully contrast the couture pieces and serve as exposition in the absence of the wearer. What began as a personal exercise for the artist evolved into a rich and universally compelling collection; any viewer is reminded of the almost supernatural sense of history contained within even the most mundane objects, though there was certainly nothing mundane about the pieces in Mrs. Atuk’s closet. The photographs were collected and paired with Montgomery Barron’s written recollections and My Mother’s Clothes was published by Random House in March. The book sets each image against Montgomery Barron’s reminiscences. A red purse amid vivid green grass is coupled with the maternal advice: “Mama always told me, ‘Take some mad money with you on a date. If you get mad, you can always leave’.” With or without the daughter’s textual asides, the photographs in My Mother’s Clothes have much to say about the avenues by which we seek to preserve the past and inform our understanding of those we love.
Jeannette Montgomery Barron states, “I suppose this project started as my way of coping with the loss of one part of my mother, her memory, then, with the loss of my mother. It has helped me understand and appreciate her more, thankfully. Ultimately, this project is a love letter to my mother, Eleanor Wilhelmina Morgan Montgomery Atuk.”
Put a Few More Ruffles on, Oscar (version 2), 2006
We Did a Lot of Dancing, 2006
White Sequin Jacket, 2006