I am a conceptual mixed media artist, addressing issues of colorism and race. I seek to break stereotypes and address issues related to my life. My artwork is steeped in oral history and is an expression of the narrative. As a storyteller, I impart conceptualized stories about the “other” in society. I view myself as a vehicle for ancestral stories to transcend history and remain part of the historical record. The canvas of my artwork is fabric which I age and imbue with conceptualized images of a forgotten part of the American story. Using images and text, I embed the cloth with the hopes and visions of my ancestors, particularly those whose stories have remained invisible. Whether woven or stitched, every time my weft crosses the warp or my needle pierces the cloth, it reaches through another layer of scorched earth that slavery has left behind. In this way I attempt to reframe critical issues of race.
Paying attention need not be a stress but a meditative process; an observation of the elements of existence viewed openly and with equanimity, neither exalting or diminishing the value of things as they are or present themselves; the value of the story intrinsic to their combinations and juxtapositions resonating in ways hopefully poignant and new.
…Like a movie we walked into the middle of … ours is a fragmented existence, cobbled together; challenging a perspective both flawed and poetic, toward an approximate accuracy that seeks to define and reconcile so-called reality; a facsimile of earnest truth, a rapid-fire cyber information glut combined with old-guard pulp and electronic media hustle on religio-politico pulpit bearing news of new opportunities in the greed and self-aggrandizement market. Distance is the philosophy, acquisition is the sutra that ties it all together… what’sa matter you? … memory is unreliable … so these cultural ghosts and hallucinations are nailed to the gallery cross for veneration, contemplation, or possible exorcism, as you will.
investigations in painting, collage, print making and artists’ books for creative people of all levels of experience. He is a mixed-media artist whose recent or upcoming exhibitions include UNLEASHED GALLERY (California), GAP : SF INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL (“Dada Here and Now”), GAP: ROOM ART GALLERY” By Collaboratve Means” (Mill Valley, California), THE FOURTH WALL GALLERY (Oakland California), GAP: CARLOS BUELNA GALLERY@MUSEO DE ARTE MODERNO DE MAZATLAN (Mazatlan, Mexico), and 10dence GALLERY “Poligious Issues” (Rotterdam, Netherlands), 2017.
My paintings are abstracted interiors of the body made of cells, neurons, blood, milk, veins, wounds, and sutures. They are the stuff of regeneration, of connection, of disease and ultimately of recovery. The visual formal language is one of abstract evocations rather than depictions, but derives from and is inspired by celebrations and lamentations of the social and physical experiences of humanity. The beauty of painting is that it can communicate profoundly and may reflect upon human history. While my paintings are informed by such tragedies as AIDS and joyous events like birth, I do not desire or aim for any specific reading or interpretation. Instead, the works offer multiple possibilities.
With climate change an ever pressing concern, and rising seas, water scarcity, ocean pollution, and other extreme weather patterns becoming the norm, I find myself looking to the vast expanses of water as a source for my most recent body of work. While my work is abstract, I reference nature visually and conceptually. For instance, in the Phylum and other works, I reference cell biology, accretion of geological formations, botanical structures and the taxonomy of the natural world.
During the very physical work of additive and subtractive layering in my work, there are numerous conceptual and physical changes that occur. In past work, I created large wood paintings made up of grids of painted small panels which arose out of my own experience of motherhood and spoke to the sustenance of new life. Some work was also inspired by the miraculous feat of cell division into the journey of creation and birth of new life. More recently, I have made paintings containing hundreds of pieces of wood of various heights, widths, and lengths (as seen in Rime and Phylum). Each piece of wood or paper represents a separate entity but is linked with its surrounding neighbors by various systematic rules and decisions. The small singular elements of the multi-paneled pieces are meant to exist in equal strength to the whole. In effect, nothing is disconnected from the whole. The individual cannot exist without the support of the whole; but, nevertheless, it remains distinctly unique. The singular elements in all of these works ultimately change in form and substance by building into something greater than themselves. A transmutation occurs from part to the whole.
My work over time has consistently explored the nature of human interaction with the physical world through architecture and man-made objects. Tools, utensils, buildings and machines eventually become artifacts, archaeological sites and cultural signifiers. I have also been inspired by the whimsical possibilities inherent in animation and contemporary culture, from Japanese anime to the satirical figures of late Guston, which stand at the cusp of what I refer to as “the monster and the child,” something purely fictional and innocent that informs our youthful imagination.
My most current series entitled Talismans brings together many of these interests, with a focus on totemic iconography and the human form through stacked layers of limestone and marble. This layering alludes to the passing of geological time as well as cultural history, while the feet firmly place the sculptural form in the realm of abstracted figuration. Finally, the ornamental brass elements adorn the “heads,” making up a complex array of visual associations that bring to mind everything from Middle Eastern hookahs to Venetian perfume atomizers, Buddhist stupas and African jewelry.