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Mother's 45s

By trchambers(47)

I think about my mother a lot and particularly now since the 23rd anniversary of her death is approaching. She died October 14, 1983 at the age of 58. Several years later [1990], I put together a visual arts piece, "Mother's 45s" to pay tribute to my mother and all mothers of the world. The project was first exhibited at Gallery One in Providence, Rhode Island.

I matched my mother's 45rpm records with the family photographs to create assemblages by using the hole spaces of the records to frame the images. I eventually arrived at a satisfactory combination, incorporating forty-five 45rpm records with the images.

I put a portion of each song onto an audio cassette to be used as a part of the exhibition, and faded-in/faded-out the songs and looped them for continuous play through the original speaker of her RCA phonograph and in order with the wall display of the photo/record assemblages. I sequenced the photographs of my mother according to the chronology of her life, which spanned almost 60 years.

When the assemblages are viewed along with the songs, the sound stimulus pulls the viewer from record to record (1 - 45), and this process has some interesting points: the maturation process of my mother is seen; the man who came into her life and eventually became her husband and my father is seen; the maturation process of her only child (me) is seen; the change in hair and fashion styles is seen; the change in automobile models is seen; and various locales throughout the United States are seen.

A review from The Phoenix's New Paper [April 19-25, 1990], Providence, Rhode Island states: "Make room for my 45s right beside your 78s, Jackson Browne once sang to his father. Tom R. Chambers mixes his media to come up with a spin on that particular sentiment. Mother's 45s pulls the rug out from under ordinary nostalgia by pinpointing specific sections of his mom's snapshots and strategically-placed seven-inch records (selections include I Get Ideas, Playing For Keeps and Little Small Town Girl). An era is documented; the woman's pleasure concerns become evident; and a dying art form is given another purpose. In one fell swoop, Chambers chronicles how we interact with our memories and how those memories are forever irretrievable."

This project was later picked up through national [USA] search for inclusion in the "Parents" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, 1992 [Exhibition catalogue (ISBN #0-932706-20-7)]. "Mother's 45s" (and its success) is the high point of my visual arts career for the simple reason that it involves and perpetuates my mother's existence. And the result is a tribute to my mother that also stirs memories and emotions in everyone about their mothers.

Mother's 45s

Tom R. Chambers

This Blog Post has been read 5 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Monday, January 01, 2007
View other posts by trchambers

Comments on this blog post:

Comment by trchambers(47)
Hi tom, enjoyed looking at the 45's and the story behind them.

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