I approach the collage as a painting not a mere assembly of pictures. As I collect materials, they seem to connect individually or in groups. I begin to see the materials interact as I arrange colors and shapes, and discovering the form and the space created between them. Each added element will build on the previous one by changing, adding, or even result in eliminating the other components which many times were the original motivating pieces. You must allow the work to evolve and transform until the work seems to emerge from the forms, edges, textures, shapes, space and even unrelated content. A successful collage requires a high degree of discrimination if collage is not to degenerate into mere decoration, cliches, or a gaudy assembly of meaningless material. What you remove is asimportant as what you put into the composition. I use hand cut pieces, color paper, along with transferred or print images, transfer rubbings, airbrush, gouache, pastel, gold leaf, and acrylic paint.
Grounded in personal narrative, my works are abstractions that ruminate on vulnerability, material utility, and ideas of becoming. My studio practice involves concurrent investigations into the past and into the present. The series inspired by the past appropriates Egon Schiele compositions as a signifier of the male gaze. I repeat the female figures Schiele objectified, and reference each directly by appropriating Schiele’s title. The series focused on the present is inspired by images from daily news sources, such as the New York Times’ live streams, from which I capture figures in contour. This represents an earnest need to bear witness to current events, and wrestles with how we, as a society and as individuals, handle problematic cultural inheritance.
Human beings have an innate desire to find meaning in the natural world and shape it accordingly. Observations drawn from local geography and weather patterns, as well as planetary geology and astronomy underlay our self- understanding, which in turn affects how we relate to one another and our environment. My work reimagines familiar topography as means of exploring the complex relationships and beliefs systems that emerge from our sense of place in the universe.
This body of work explores how women [in particular] are objectified, shamed and abused from an early age. In each hand-cut paper collage I use the same obscure, floral form to symbolize the figure. The narratives are created with discordant imagery to represent female anatomy, utilize texture and depict women in violent and/or sexual situations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on an average day, women spent more than twice as much time preparing food and drink and doing interior cleaning, and over three times as much time doing laundry as men did. However, with contemporary standards, higher education, careers, and independence are all desirable traits found in American women. Through my body of work, I attempt to reflect on these double standards and raise these questions about women’s roles and representation in American society today. Using site specific dust and sweepings from my home with household objects, I create an ambiguous narrative within my work for people to to find a correlation between their own experiences with femininity and my own. The use of repetition and multiplicity throughout my work speaks to these individual moments and experiences as a whole while also reflecting on the methodical and repetitive ways women conduct tasks in their own home such as daily chores and personal hygiene.
My paintings contain elements of drawing and collage to create scenes that are often strange, surreal and sufficiently ambiguous to evoke the viewer’s imagined or projected meanings. My imagery emerges from everyday life, sometimes from a specific story or memory, but always charged with psychological, symbolic and surreal import. When creating these narratives I begin with the collage elements and take cues from them, painting and drawing over and around them, sometimes layer upon layer. I often use white kitchen string; sometimes connecting flower-minds, sometimes stitched in the background, always telling part of the story.
For my series of collages named Vintage Decadence, my main objectives were to focus on vintage images of Black women combined with a variety of vintage advertisements. This series simultaneously celebrates Black womanhood while also highlighting the major movements and struggles that have been prevalent in American culture for many years. Such as: overindulgence, greed, vanity, social acceptance, women’s rights, and colorism within the Black community. In this series, each collage has a distinct theme and name. This evokes an array of responses. With these blatant messages, I encourage the viewer to recognize this work as both tongue-in-cheek and my approach to dissecting issues that still plague our society to this very day.
The “Where you find it” series is a quiet story that follows a woman through an ethereal landscape in search of something lost. This fiction is a way for me to explore the dynamics between humankind, nature, and the animals that inhabit it. The seeker in communion with nature is presented as an ideal in some ways, but in other ways, it reveals a truth that might hurt and would be difficult for us to unlearn. Deforestation is widely recognized as a threat to our future, but the dialog on this issue is conspicuously absent from politics. Land that was once full of wildlife and memory is now commercialized and named after the trees that were once growing freely. Everything hidden in ‘the wild’ is plain to see with current technology. I offer these narratives as a way to imbue this space with wonder again and question our actual engagement with nature. The subjects are unmistakably disjointed to suggest that our relationship with nature is becoming increasingly limited and artificial.
I paint because I love the process and the never-ending variety of elements and textures that I can layer into a single piece. I’m influenced by dilapidated buildings, and the way time and nature’s elements alter our surroundings. Rust, peeling paint, and cracked surfaces have a distressed beauty about them that I try to evoke in my work. As a former graphic designer, typography plays a significant role in many of my paintings.