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Karen Mahaffy | A Particular Quality of Loss

The Arkansas Museum of Art
July 13, 2024 – February 16, 2025

A Particular Quality of Loss at The Arkansas Museum of Art, New Media Gallery envelopes the viewer in a magical room from an unknown era. Through memory, a misty mirror of time, Mahaffy reconstructs her childhood bedroom’s flowered wallpaper as a digital animation. A haunting sepia-colored fog drifts over the entire image, as surprising moments of digital erosion occur. The viewer waits expectantly for a flower to pixilate and drop, wondering where the next will fall and then reconstitute itself. The silent waiting is actively meditative and rewarded by hypnotic transformations.

As a multi-disciplinary artist, Mahaffy pursues ideas of time, accumulation, loss, and the aura of our once-familiar belongings and environments. Asking where it is that our memories live, in A Particular Quality of Loss, the artist embeds them in digital form. By reimagining something remembered but lost, and using the cinematic element of time to illustrate age and erosion, Mahaffy evokes the fragility and brevity of life.