Culturally Constructed Series II Selected Work

I am an expressionist painter at heart; however, I have attempted to transform the overt painterly gestures that symbolize this practice and re-contextualize its painterly language into new more personal forms. In order to do this I have had to reinvent myself as a painter. I have attempted to build an entire new painting language that can investigate the duality of outer and inner worlds, the simultaneity of abstraction and representation, and the physical space of painting.

My painting process begins a transparent solution that is applied over the entire surface of the support (on the horizontal axis). While the solution is still wet, paint is dripped or brushed into the surface. This process is repeated through hundreds of continual layers. These layers create a space in which the viewer not only looks “at”, but also “into” the painting. Looking “into” my painting you see a realistic figure on the bottom layer, you see biomorphic painted forms that are suspended “inside” the built-up surface, and you see both the reflection of light on the surface as well as the actual surface of the painting.

The suspended biomorphic forms are painted to represent specific cell structures seen microscopically. However, they also evoke a variety of readings from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Although these painted forms are photo-mimetic of cell structures, they grow, due to chemical reaction, out of the gestures and the way paint is applied. In other words, the procedure becomes a catalyst for the creation of the forms.

In series 1, these painted forms are layered over a vague figurative image appropriated from popular culture films. The meaning of the image is altered in relation to the painted cellular forms overlaid “on top” of the figures. The open-ended reading of the forms create an indeterminate world where science encounters the fear of the unknown—the image could be occurring inside the body or somewhere in outer space.

Conceptually, the work explores how the affect of entertainment content depicting sexual norms, stereotypes, and sexual roles have a profound influence on our perceptions about sex and body image. The work is a social commentary about our media-manipulated society which has constructed a culture of sexual exploitation and commodification that leads figuratively and literally to death by a thousand diseases.

In series 2, the paintings are centered by a realistically depicted nude figure standing amidst a cosmos-like scene—which you learn from the titles, is not constellated by stars and nova, but by enlarged images of microscopic viruses: Chlamydia, Herpes Simplex Virus, and HIV. In a parody of the Book of Revelation, most of the figures carry the mark of a barcode on their foreheads, which is a symbol of the Beast of Consumerism. The combination of the obsidian-like finish with the placement of the nude and disease has a disturbing effect on the viewer, for as they contemplate the image in front of them, they inevitably see themselves. And so the observer is confronted with their own role in the construction of their own culture.