When I left graduate school (philosophy), I realized that I felt less, not more, qualified to make educated statements about social and political topics. Accordingly, the art I’ve made until this past year has been strictly abstract. Then the election happened, and I found myself wanting to rejoin the conversation about divisive issues in our country. Doing this in the form of presenting art instead of writing papers allows me to suggest points of view and raise questions without being pedantic, as I do not want to impose a strict perspective on my audience.
My first goal with my mixed media pieces is to recontextualize images, or even just to decontextualize them altogether, because isolating or juxtaposing photographs already compels the viewer to tell a story other than the one intended by their original placement. I believe that these photos - whether inherently provocative or mundane - deserve to elicit an unsettling, fearful response as cultural artifacts. Accordingly, by painting on top of the photo(s), I obscure much of the found imagery with colorful abstraction that hopefully imbues the underlying figures with a sense of uncanniness.
Regarding my abstractions, I am inspired by the psychological concept of pareidolia, which refers to the human brain’s tendency to attribute pattern and meaning onto random or chaotic physical stimuli. By means of the blurring technique I employ, I seek to suggest organic shapes but never define them, with the hope that my emotionally evocative titles will leave interpretation open to the viewer.
My abstract paintings have been described as colorful Rorschach tests, and I welcome this comparison.