Our first round of Staff Picks comes from our new intern, Erika,who is especially taken with Stephen Millner’s Postcard Collages in our Small Works online exhibition.
Like many, I hold onto items that are passed down from my family before me. Specifically, I own a set of handwritten directions from my mom. Before I had data and a smartphone at sixteen, these directions, turn-for-turn, show me how to get from my house to the Jersey Shore and back.
Stephen Millner’s “Postcard Collage” stands out to me because it brings me to that sentimental feeling I get when I read my mom’s directions. Featuring a handwritten dinner recipe at the top of the collage, a black & white photo with a group of young girls at the bottom, and a road map layered in the background, the collage evokes a feeling of generational nostalgia. Things like recipes, photographs, postcards, maps, or in my case, directions, are passed down through the generations, from mothers to daughters and so forth. Millner’s collage tells a universal story (as many of his collages do) of family, of women, the past, and the many artifacts that linger from familial generations.
A signature of freedom, my mother’s directions still sit in my glovebox. They are there whenever I need to be led to my favorite family place. But more importantly, as Millner’s art details for the viewer, my mother’s directions are something more valuable –– something that tells a story of my family. Something that I can one day pass down to my own daughters.