As an interdisciplinary artist working in performance poetry, mixed media and installation art, I create works that explore the treatment of marginalized and disenfranchised people and groups. I frequently juxtapose art about a broken and fragmented world with work about our broken and fragmented lives. Despite the difficult subject matter, I challenge the viewer to discover radical hope and compassion, which hold the potential for change. I aspire to make art that sometimes heightens awareness of injustices, that sometimes reframes the trauma, and that always generates conversation.
In my interdisciplinary art practice, virtually every object holds the promise of becoming a medium, a tool, or a prop. I begin with a layer or two of acrylic paints; add sands, scraps of fabric, yarn, found objects, text. I mix representation with abstraction in the tradition of the Surrealists. I create linocuts for handmade cards, then re-use the linocuts as stamps on canvases, sometimes many years later. I create durable papers from disposable junk mail circulars that use up our forests and flood our mailboxes. The papers add textures, depth and meaning to my work, and symbolize the injustices against “disposable” people.
Beyond the Surrealists, the contemporary artists whose works have influenced me most include the performative work of Carrie Mae Weems, the innovative use of materials and pigments by Ann Hamilton, the creative use of text and the “messy aesthetic” of Glenn Ligon, and the interdisclplinarity of the sculptor and performance artist Ana Mendietta. In my own artwork, each piece of art is a palimpsest, a history of itself within layers of codes — visible and invisible. Remnants of my past and the detritus of daily life mix it up with the world’s throwaways to form a meaningful artwork for others to encounter. The fragments in the layers of my personal narrative blend with the untold stories of those who have been too easily discarded and with the stories of the wounded earth.
These cast-off fragments form my personal aesthetic: messy, imperfect and beautiful. The works become my created world where nothing is lost and where transformation is possible.