My name is Barbara Marie Landolt. I am 10 years old. As on many occasions throughout the years, the Landolt Family has gathered in our living room and spills over into our dining room at our home at 2015 Woodland Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa. Homemade music and home-brewed beer are flowing freely. All eyes and ears are fixed on my 88-year old Great-Grandpa John playing the fiddle. Daddy, who is 41, sits in his yellowing skin on the edge of an over-stuffed chair, the only person in the room wearing pajamas, robe and slippers. As he plucks his banjo, his graying dark brown hair falls to the front, then to the back, then to the front again. Uncle Gene makes music on his fiddle, Aunt Blanche plays the piano, and everyone sings. Meanwhile, my 41-year old Mom sits next to a deep red leather encased wire recorder, secretly capturing the sounds of music and conversation, sometimes telling a little white lie, “Why, I’m only rewinding it!” It was impossible for Mom to know on this particular evening in 1952, just 2 months before Daddy would succumb to cancer and be buried on my 11th birthday, that someday the next-to-the-youngest of their five children would use her documentation to create art.
My name is Barbara Landolt Bianchi. I am 74 years old. My collages and digital images are created — sometimes through tears — while listening to the old recordings and using fragments of Mom’s handwritten letters, scribbles of text, and photos from the old family album. The worn and faded materials convey a sense of texture and story to which I am attracted. I merge these bits and pieces into creating something that for me is cathartic. The works are my celebration of life, and offer the viewer a sense of passing time and memory.