Collective Amnesia by Aileen A Paton

I was born in Glasgow, but spent most of my life in Thurso, Caithness on the north coast of Scotland. I graduated from Gray’s School of Art in 2014, where I studied painting as a mature student. Just after graduating, I moved to Edinburgh, where I was very lucky in securing studio space at St. Margaret’s House.

Collective Amnesia

Although this will be my first solo exhibition, I was previously invited by the RSW as a new graduate of Gray’s to exhibit in their 134th annual exhibition.

Most recently, my piece Tree of Guernica was selected for their 135th show where I was awarded the RSW Watermark Award. I have also exhibited in various group shows in Aberdeen and Edinburgh and was artist in residence at the Oil and Glass Gallery in Aberdeen in 2012.
My work focuses on the concept of erasure, using newspapers and other publications. My technique begins with a reductive process, excising text and images so that only the basic scaffolding of a newspaper remains. For some of the pieces I have developed the process further by taking this fragile structure and distorting it, before building up multiple layers and reconfiguring them.

The process continues as I begin to apply as well as erase layers of paint. Just as the original newspaper was read, and variously interpreted by its readers, so this transformed ‘text’ is presented to be read and reinterpreted.

‘Collective amnesia’ was originally a term that indicated how quickly we as a nation or group of nations forget. In other words, we never learn from history. Also termed ‘social amnesia’, it might be explained by our tendency nowadays to suffer from information overload, or ‘hyperconnectivity’. My piece entitled Collective Amnesia comprises multiple pages of TV listings.

On closer inspection, the text can be seen to have been erased and the remnants transformed into a form of textile which has then been woven into the resulting structure. The cumulative effect of wall-to-wall 24 hour available programming tends to desensitise us. Whether the programme was for our entertainment or designed to educate us is irrelevant: its impact is ephemeral and instantly forgotten.


Collective Amnesia

Works by A. A. Paton

Opening Night Friday 21st October 2016

22nd October – 6th November 2016

Gallery 2

St. Margaret’s House 6.00 pm – 9.00 pm

151 London Road Daily. 10.00 am – 6.00 pm

Edinburgh EH7 6AE