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On-Campus Art Exhibit Recounts Life’s Memories

“Have you ever tried to remember the very first thing you can actually remember for real from when you were young?” 
This question is displayed in an exhibit by BU Digital Art and Computer Graphics Professor Sue O’Donnell entitled, Memory Maps, which is currently open to the public for no admission fee at the Haas Gallery until Sept. 11, 2009.
"Secrets" by O'Donnell: Courtesy of
"Secrets" by O'Donnell: Courtesy of

The artwork shown on the left entitled, Secrets, is just one example of O’Donnell’s 13 different ultrachrome and tiled electrostatic prints she produced between 2001-2009.  

The exhibit provides insight into the life of O’Donnell through a montage of memories: secrets, thoughts, regrets, or biographical information. 

“Although the subject matter of my work is a self-portrait,” O’Donnell states in a handout from the exhibit, “my interest in memory construction reaches beyond the parameter of myself.”

The art interlocks multiple details from O’Donnell’s life that portray a journey or path similar to what anyone could experience in a lifespan.  

A few examples of the range of memories O’Donnell recounts include: “I was born in Plainfield, NJ,” “I still have all my wisdom teeth,” and “I learned a big lesson about exaggerating the truth.”


“I approach my work like a scientific experiment,” O’Donnell stated in the handout, “wherein I establish parameters or systems that I follow in order to discover and explore new visual connections and patterns in my life.” 

Each of O’Donnell’s pieces of art depict at least one story from her immediate past or childhood.  Some of the pieces depict a specific scene from one of her memories and illustrates it in segments (see “Throw” below on the right).

“What I hope to distill is not an ultimate truth, but a deeper understanding of the way we accept our own fields of memory by exposing and strengthening the connections we have within ourselves with each other,” O’Donnell says in the handout.

More information about O’Donnell is available on her BU faculty page.


"Throw," courtesy of O'Donnell
"Throw," courtesy of O'Donnell