Nina Gaby

Essays, art, and healthcare

New Views from the Memory Motel

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New Views from the Memory MotelThe Vermont Book Arts Guild exhibit opens this Thursday, February 15 and runs through March 18. Hosting this exhibit is the University of Vermont Living/Learning Gallery in Burlington. From my artist statement:

“New Views from the Memory Motel”

The Three Dimensional Art of Memoir: transparency, translucency, opacity

“transparent translucent opaque transparent translucent opaque transparent” is printed on vellum rolled around a page of quotes. Stuck in a porcelain scroll. “There are shards stuck in our unconscious we don’t even know about until they surface.” Shards of porcelain surround the grouping of scrolls and containers that make up the series New View from the Memory Motel. There really is a Memory Motel, I found it while visiting a friend in Montauk and took some photos, and voila, a new series was born. Much of what we hold on to is bittersweet so I quote Abigail Thomas: “The word memory comes from the same root as the word mourn, and that should tell you something.”

 And from Jenny Kerber, “Writing in Dust” 2010: “The memoir can also serve as a form of testimonial, bearing witness not only to the particularities of a place at a moment in its history but also to the writer’s conscious commitment to it. The Latin root of memoir, however, also reminds us of the proximity of remembrance to mourning. Even as memoria tries to keep something or someone alive, its substance often only amounts to a pale shadow of what has already been lost.”

Elements: Porcelain pages, various handmade papers, fabric, threads, charms, milagros, encaustic, ephemera, original artwork and text as the basis for the written word, also incorporating micro-essays, quotes and pieces of memoir via vintage Letra-Set, stamps, and inkjet printing.  Photo by Ben DeFlorio

Read my guest blog about the piece and the process in July on


 Nina Gaby is a writer, visual artist, and psychiatric nurse practitioner living in Northern New England. She has contributed to numerous anthologies and periodicals, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as prose poetry and articles. Her first book, “Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women,” was published in 2015 by She Writes Press. Most recently her creative nonfiction has appeared on Kevin MD, in Intima: a Journal of Narrative Medicine, The Best of the Burlington Writer’s Workshop, and in “Mothering Through Darkness.” Her work is upcoming in the collections “Second Blooming” and “How Does That Make You Feel?” She has guest blogged on a number of sites including, and infrequently on her own website at Her sculptural porcelain is in the National Collection of the Renwick at the Smithsonian, and Arizona State University permanent collections. Gaby’s three dimensional memoir vessels explore transparency/translucency/ and opacity in mixed media including the written word and have been exhibited recently in several regional gallery shows, including the juried show “Unbound V” and “The Art of Place” which she co-curated at Chandler Center for the Arts this past winter.




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