In my series titled An Inventory of Traces, each gradient is a vignette of an experience, place, or person. I attempt to commit important events in my life to memory via painting. I mine color from memory, photos, interviews, and artifacts from my family. Cold wax and oil paint are swiped across the canvas to conceal extraneous possibilities and to limit sentimentality. Simultaneously, illusionistic space is anticipated and denied. A thin trace of color is revealed. Skin tones, days at the beach, climbing a mountain with a lover, my parents’ backyard, a city sidewalk, aging postcards from my uncle to my grandparents dating back to the 1970s, the bayous in Louisiana where my ancestors once lived, the shapes of rivers. Color triggers these recollections.
The title of the series is inspired by Edward Said's book Orientalism where he writes "In many ways my study of Orientalism has been an attempt to inventory the traces upon me, the Oriental subject, of the culture whose domination has been so powerful a factor in the life of all Orientals." In 2018, I had received an Artist Community Engagement Grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation to fund new work that engaged with the public. Through abstraction, I wanted to celebrate the lives of immigrants. I met with immigrant artists and writers in NYC to learn about the traces the world has left upon them. Their stories inspired the color, composition, and literal traces on several of my paintings for which I am so grateful. These paintings are denoted by the inclusion of the names of the people I interviewed in the parentheses following the titles.
In my Sports Abstraction Series, I paint marks and forms that correspond with actions and symbols found in sports including brackets, suicide running drills, strategic play formations, trophies, and so on. I am fascinated by systems and parallels within art and sports. People often learn major life lessons thru sports; among those lessons are rules, conflict, collective action, democracy, fairness, morality, ambition, circumstance, and hierarchy. Part of why I choose to paint with oil on canvas is because each rectangle is like a court or field where there are specific rules, logic, and history. The studio is like an arena where unscripted drama can take place.