Debra Porch uses installation as a powerful catalyst to explore the visible and unseen ties that connect the past to the present. Her work draws attention to the way memory transforms the ordinary, emphasising the singular and exceptional in the everyday. Regards to the family begins from this premise, using specific objects and images as conduits for memory and the visual mechanisms of installation to re-orientate our sense of the familiar. The work refers directly to Porch’s Armenian heritage and to the way the work’s title communicates wider bonds with the filial appearing in and out of our memories. Porch grew up in the Armenian Diaspora — the dispersion of people following the 1915–18 genocide by the Ottoman Turks — and, like many of her generation, with limited connections to history and place. No one in her family had returned to Armenia and its traumatic history encouraged a collective silence. Regards to the family is in part a response to Porch returning to Armenia for a residency in 2010 and to the way these experiences made present a fusing of the self with memories recovered, retold and reinvented.
Excerpt from catalogue essay by José Da Silva; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.