a boy named laughter

archival pigment prints, 14x14

 

There is a tiny human in my life. We are not connected biologically. He has lived four years on this earth and has had a wealth of experiences that I have not experienced with him. He has already formed his personality, his mannerisms are a reflection of his mother, and his laughter is contagious.

Drawn to his charismatic approach to life, I began documenting him. I found myself fascinated with his mannerism, his interest and how he experienced things. The whimsy of childhood always near me felt comforting. This little boy came with some challenges, some that he brought to our relationship and some I uncovered.

The lens has long been a method of understanding, reflection, and internal processing. I am learning about this little boy just as he is learning me. We collaborated on some of the pieces and others he just is, and I observe. I am learning what it means to attach to a non-biological child, and he is finding his way of attaching to me. He and I are in the initial stages of introduction. Our story is just beginning; this is just chapter one.

 

 

 

testament

archival pigment prints, 14x14

 

Testament-

Thoughts and questions surrounding religious belief, gender, sexuality and truth suffused in my spirit for years, yet I was apprehensive about handing them a voice. My hesitation to express these ideas stems from the root of the work itself, my religious upbringing. Growing up, I was taught to follow a literal reading/interpretation of the Bible. As a result, my gender limited my options within the culture. I was taught to be submissive to men, but also that I was held responsible for the sexual behavior of men, whom I was exhorted not to lead into sin.

Around the age of ten, my pastor asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My instant response was that I wanted to be just like him, a pastor. He quickly informed me that was impossible because the Bible forbade women from holding positions in the church. Thus began a long period of spiritual unrest; I began to ask questions and struggled with some

inconsistencies. I found there were more spiritual and intellectual options, but my religious upbringing weighed on my consciousness during this time. It was not until I was much older that I realized the shame and guilt I was experiencing came from my religious upbringing.

With this body of work, I write my testament rooting in the theory of intersectionality. Performance is foundational to my methodology, in that I am either reenacting a memory or creating a performance to investigate a particular question/ theme. I am very deliberate in my use of iconography, repeating symbols across the narrative as visual cues to the hovering nature of religious rhetoric. To evoke a dialogue with the viewer I used a reduced color palette that evoked the feelings of the home; using the palette of flesh tones as my guide. This method is an attempt to create a color scheme that pacified the potential conflict within the imagery. Within this body of work, I merge both self-portraiture and still life, which reflects my desire to both tell a story and prompt questions: a call and response to the viewer. 

 

 

 

conveyance

installation, pigment prints on aluminum, audio recordings of morse code, various sizes. 

Conveyance, reflects back to when my personal life began a stage of evolution and adaptation. Through the process of wondering photographically, I quickly discovered that I was capturing places that felt familiar even though I had no physical of emotional connection to the locations - representations of the emotional self was found in the physicality of my new locale. By incorporating the sound of Morse Code, I am able to integrate personal thoughts into the work, while simultaneously obscuring the meaning. The imagery itself is mounted on aluminum and acts as a conduit for the Morse Code to be delivered to the viewer for reflection. 

 

method of mourning

pigment prints, 18x27

Her death was a month shy of my twenty-first birthday. Self determination kept me from accepting my emotions. I would be forced to critically examine my faith if these feelings were acknowledged and release the ultimate question that was under layers of control, perfectionism, and performance. 

Why? 

You see, I was raised to never ask God why. The answer, in my mind, would be the medicine for the pain.

I did not set out to create this type of work. In fact the subject matter feels too personal for me to photograph or even reveal. I never wanted to make work about my mother or about her death. Something happened when I turned the camera on myself. I was forced to investigate, analyze, and criticize myself as I would any other subject matter. Even with the grandest intentions, the work slowly evolved into what it really needed to say, or what I needed to say. It became my personal method of mourning.

 

devour

installation, public performance and public collaboration, 2012

This project exist in two parts: 

1) Every day, for the next 30 days, I will be eating lunch at a table at the Visual Arts Center. Dates and times of lunch will be posted each week so others may join me for lunch. 

2) The table on which will be eating will be marked and mangled. Participants will be encourage to carve negative words they have heard or told themselves about their body and the food they eat. 

At the end of each week I will sand down the phrases in order to reduce the negative impact of these words. 

Please feel free to join me for lunch (rain or shine) and make your mark on the table. 

UPDATE: This project was unfortunately cut short due to theft. The table was removed and the word "negated" was circled in the spot where the table once stood. The project was not able to continue during the allotted time but will be revisited in the Spring of 2012 as per participants requests. 

For more information about the project please see theNCLAC article

The project was also featured in the Louisiana Tech newspaper, The Tech Talk, which can be found online here. The article can be found on the bottom of the first page

shift and ache

Installation, 2012

wood, fabric, water and dye

In 2007 I was diagnosed with a “chocolate ovary”; a by product of several cases of endometriosis. The ovary becomes suffocated by old blood and over times kills the ovary by terminating productivity. Once one ovary reaches this state there is a strong possibility that the other ovary will also be lost. 

This piece represents the constant emotional and psychological tension that exist

 

cavity

photographic images, installation and collaboration, on going project

The idea for Cavity came from several conversations with a couple different friends, who happened to be artists, about how we were coping with the death of our parents. Each of us had lost a parent at different stages of our lives, but saw the connection it played on our work. I gave each of the artist a spool of yarn from my mother's personal collection and asked them to make something that either represented their loved one or represented their connection to their loved one. I also informed them that the object would be destroyed, but preserved only through a photograph. I, myself, also participated by creating a piece. As I began the process of deconstructing the objects, I began to realize the painstaking effort that these artist placed into these impermanent objects. These artists had poured themselves into remembering through the act of creating. 

If you would like to participate in this project, please contact the artist for details.