Sealing Place: Impressions of Rome - Tamryn McDermott


May 2016


McDermott, Tamryn
Irvin, Sarah

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Fenwick Gallery, George Mason University Libraries


My methodology emulates that of a historian and enters into the arena of archaeologists, archivists and curators. Historians write, and re-write history privileging certain evidence while imposing specific agendas, to reshape history. Confronting history as a construction; I provoke viewers through historical representation, unmasking illusions of precision and truth. By deconstructing and analyzing the way the historical record is fabricated, my work reveals the futile nature of preserving an accurate history. Rome is an ideal site to deconstruct and analyze the condition of history; a site rich in rewritten and overwritten political and moral agendas. Historically, the fabric of Rome has been deconstructed and re-stitched since its origins, often rooted in myth and fragmented written records. Taking this history as my subject matter, I turn it into my working process, revealing the limitations of preserving history and accessing historical reality. In this exhibition, the contextualization of the objects becomes imperative to how the work is perceived. My goal is to redefine the importance of installation and presentation of objects. The objects themselves are important, but become secondary to the structure and organization of the installation. The structural framework is meant to challenge viewers to consider the origins of knowledge about the past and how archaeologists, archivists and curators reinterpret and mythologize historical evidence. Curated displays suggest the research and conclusions imbedded in the objects. The arrangement reflects a stratified composite structure, mirroring written narrative history.


Exhibition Catalog from the Sealing Place: Impressions of Rome exhibit by Tamryn McDermott at the Fenwick Gallery, George Mason University


Visual art, Sculpture, Artists' books, Rome (Italy), Italy, Archives, History, Handmade paper, Art and research