Artist Statement

As a painter, I devote my studio to explore figuration and abstraction as an investigation into landscapes, time and memory. My work investigates power structures embedded in the construction and definition of spatial and temporal narratives. Each space has its own protocols and constructs that are in opposition to blackness. How do black people take up space? How are rhythm, posture and style an integral part of how black people explore/define/craft their own being or assert their presence?
 

How we look and who’s looking creates a reliance on visual perceptions that define who we are as social beings. This power dynamic allows those who hold the most power within society to exercise control over others by dominating the visual representations while simultaneously creating a fictional narrative of those who lack power.

 

My paintings jolt the viewer out of their comforting assumptions, perspectives and perceptions. I create new visual terms by challenging expectations of what the figure should be that includes at times forcibly ripping, cutting, and layering my works.
 

The surfaces of my paintings are not perfect or pristine, rather they are built up and then scraped down. For me this process is a metaphor for resilience; it is my personal experience of resourcefulness, of using scraps to make something whole and new. My use of unconventional materials is a way to challenge traditional painting and expand on my personal and historical narratives.
 

I intentionally explore lyrical marks, which explore tension between the social psyche of the figure and the formal expressiveness of the work. Thus creating an intersection where the formal and the conceptual elements of the work feed each other.
 

Much of black people in film and Western art have been defined visually in three small boxes: enslaved, in servitude, or impoverished. It is my intention with whom I paint and the surfaces I paint on, as a way to negate this singular story and limited point of view. I use my authorship of visual representation as a form of resistance through the exploration of how figures navigate visible and obscure obstacles on their way to liberation.