Of the four aspects of Cydney Payton's marvelous Decades of Influence: Colorado 1985 - Present, the part on view at the Carol Keller Project Space (1513 Boulder Street, 303-298-7554) is by far the edgiest. When I first heard that the Keller spot was part of the Decades extravaganza, I naturally expected that it would be given over to photos, since CKPS is the former home of the Colorado Photographic Art Center and Keller herself operated a photo gallery for years. Instead, what's on display there is "Lure," an installation by Rebecca Vaughan that is conceptualist and post-modernist, as much about thinking as it is about seeing.
Vaughan lined the walls with small pale yellow sachets, and in front she installed small wall-mounted fans. On the back wall is a video projection of women wearing the sachets. The explanation for the piece is elaborate, intensely personal and thought-provoking. It's all about Vaughan's search for her biological mother.
Vaughan was adopted when she was only a few days old. Her adoptive mother put her in a yellow dress when she came to pick her up, and Vaughan used material from this dress to make her sachets. Inside the sachets is Vaughan's scent, harvested from her temples and under her arms. She is using the Keller space as a satellite of herself, hoping her smell, magnified by all the sachets and broadcast by the fans, will attract her mother. The video of the women documents part of her campaign to send out her scent across the country in hopes of finding her mother.
Decades of Influence: Colorado 1985 - Present
1513 Boulder Street
"I've tried every rational way to find her," notes Vaughan, "and she's either dead or doesn't want to meet me." And so she took on this irrational approach to the quest.
Vaughan is the head of the 3-D department at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, and one reason Payton chose her to play such a large role in Decades of Influence is an acknowledgement of the school's importance in the development of cutting-edge art in the region.
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Rebecca Vaughan's "Lure," at the Carol Keller Project Space, closes along with the rest of Decades on August 27.