Elisheva Biernoff

Gallery Affiliations: Eli Ridgeway Gallery

Region: Pacific Coast

I sympathize with old, discarded things. Postcards in antique malls, crumpled black-and-white starlets, carousels of slides. These remnants are small ciphers, clipped short stories, mysterious for the simple reason that it is amazing to see what people record, keep, and, finally, shed.

A photograph of a man gazing out to sea immediately suggests yearning and wanderlust; an image of a path through the forest conjures a kid with a knapsack, a Hansel leaving home. A postcard can cue you to imagine a hotel in Marrakesh, speculate about the identity of “Dearest M,” and feel inordinate fondness for someone, probably long gone, who signs themselves “Your vagabond.”

What I like best about these perfectly common snapshots and mass-produced postcards is that they can connect you to a distant stranger—an archaeologist in search of a lost city, an aviatrix afraid of growing old, my grandfather the food chemist and painter—whose story isn’t common at all.