Monterey Museum of Art | Currents + FLUX Galleries April 1 - May 28, 2022 1
Copyright ©2022 Temple Sisters — Holly and Ashlee Temple. All rights reserved. Produced in partnership with the Monterey Museum of Art. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. templesisters.com montereyart.org
Temple Sisters, detail of It Became So Much, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches.
There is a certain sense of radiance that holds the viewer to the work of the Temple Sisters. A mystery caught up in the complexities of the imagery inside each framed or boxed world. In the Tomes series, one is drawn by the dense, solid nature of these pieces. There is something in them that calls to be held, to be touched and weighed. Yet drawing near we experience hesitancy; within lies the frail and ephemeral remains of old books and papers seemingly held together only by the pressure of their nearness to each other, causing one to pause in wonder at their actual fragility and delicacy. The Temple Sisters play with this revelatory opposition found in the viewer’s spatial relationship to the work in all three of the series presented here. In She Wore a Blue Dress. She Wore a Red Dress., one is caught up by the composition from afar, of the ethereal beauty of the women enshrined by lace and lovely shades of pale pink/beige as well as joyful splashes of color. We see remnants of delicate paper, the juxtaposition between light and dark, the negative space and the relationships of the colored sparked by silver and sometimes gold highlights.
Temple Sisters, detail of Recollections, 590, 2021. Mixed media on paper, unframed size: 11 x 15 inches, framed size: 18 x 20 inches. 5
But move closer to the work and something different evolves. The lace turns to plastic, the highlights to splotches, the women are anything but demure — one seems to have her head thrown back as having been slapped or beaten, another has paint splattered on her face; the dresses are disturbing with streaks of black paint creating a feeling of decay or deterioration. Even the paper seems to change from pink to a moldy looking beige, showing signs of flaking and cracking. The faces on the women, which are hardly present from a distance become sad or fearful — a few showing contempt or lack of respect, and the poses are either arrogant or completely caved in, broken or even worse, cut in half. These are women who have experienced life and have been ravaged by time and wear. At first glance, the Temple Sisters give us a beautiful vision of what we think we want. In reality, it is so much more. The viewer is transfixed, aesthetically placed in turmoil. There is a psychological puzzle here, a mystery that cannot be resolved. Gail Enns, 2021 Director, Green Chalk Contemporary
SHE WORE A BLUE DRESS. SHE WORE A RED DRESS. TOMES. 7
“All that remained was a photograph of her mother but the dampness of the school had faded it and now nothing could be seen but the hair and the eyebrows”
“And with amazing distinctness for the first time in those thirteen years she imagined vividly her mother, her father, her brother, their apartment in Moscow, the aquarium with the little fishes, everything down to the smallest detail…” ~ Anton Chekhov, In The Cart
In their series She Wore a Blue Dress. She Wore a Red Dress., the Temple Sisters set out to explore memory as a deeply embedded yet fluid and obscure sensibility. Time, cultural shifts, the inevitable process of aging as well as personal aesthetic and bias, hones but also distorts our view of the past. By repurposing, rearranging, and re-imagining the everyday media that we rely on to “hold” our memories — photo albums, vintage illustrated scenes, photo negatives, — the Temple Sisters are engaging us in a conversations about the fragility and ambiguity of our memories and the identities they evoke within us.
Temple Sisters, detail of So Many Times, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches. 9
Temple Sisters, It Was What You Always Did, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches. 10
Temple Sisters, I Thought You Said, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches. 11
Temple Sisters, Wasn’t It My Favorite?, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches. 12
Temple Sisters, It Was a Sense That I Had, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches. 13
Temple Sisters, And Then I Think You Appeared, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches. 14
Temple Sisters, Did I Leave Then?, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches. 15
Temple Sisters, It Became so Much 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches. 16
Temple Sisters, Was It Her?, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, unframed size: 18 x 23 inches, framed size: 26 x 31 inches. 17
Temple Sisters, Recollections 590, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, 17 1/4 x 19 1/4 inches.
Temple Sisters, Recollections 229, 2021. Mixed media on matboard, 17 1/4 x 19 1/4 inches.
“Reading is difficult. People just aren’t meant to read anymore. We’re in a post-literate age. You know, a visual age. How many years after the fall of Rome did it take for a Dante to appear? Many, many years.” ~ Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story
Tome: From Latin tomus “section of a book, tome,” from Greek tomos “volume, section of a book,” originally “a section, piece cut off,” from temnein “to cut,” from PIE root *tem- “to cut.”
In Tomes the Temple Sisters create tactile odes to our personal and collective stories by combining antique drawers and other vintage box-like pieces with the remnants of discarded, decaying, books, bibles, tomes, and atlases. The works are both heavy and delicate as they hold our forgotten and discarded words engaging us with questions of value, consumption, and decay.
Temple Sisters, detail of Tomes #1, 2020-21. Mixed media, approximately 5 x 7 1/2 x 3 inches. 21
Temple Sisters, Tomes 1-8, 2020-21. Mixed media. Each measures approximately 5 x 7 1/2 x 3 inches.
Temple Sisters, Tomes 1-3, 2020-21. Mixed media. Each measures approximately 5 x 7 1/2 X 3 inches.
The Temple Sisters – Holly and Ashlee Temple – have shown their works in more than two dozen exhibitions across the country, including New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Chicago and Denver, as well as throughout California. Holly and Ashlee Temple are both based on the Monterey Peninsula, and maintain their studio in Sand City. Collaboration, both in applied method as well as conceptually, is at the core of their work. They each find the implicit trust required by working in tandem to be one of the most interesting and integral parts of their art. A shared history and shared aesthetic emerges as a partnership in paint and paper. It is their deep belief that collaboration – artist-to-artist, art-to-observer – is at the heart of the creative process.
Thank you to: The Monterey Museum of Art Executive Director, Corey Madden and Collections and Exhibitions Director, John Rexine along with the entire staff for all your help and believing in the show. Green Chalk Contemporary Director, Gail Enns for all her support and wisdom. To our family and friends for all your love and support throughout the years. For Mom. Who always kept all the pieces together.