Coming from a lineage of sentimental black matriarchs who savored their possessions for decades, valuing each hat, salt shaker, and blanket as an eternal vessel for the spirit, it is only natural that the majority of objects in my world carry significant emotional weight. In an effort to retain memories, events, conversations, and people, I collect random things. Collecting is about savoring experiences and each object operates as a type of marker for places and incidents that would otherwise risk being forgotten. Objects in my life have served as placeholders, trophies, reminders, friends, symbols, warnings, and metaphors for nonverbal gestures. The work I make is a result of this emphasis on both reflecting and relishing. Paintings and drawings serve as a means of “visual paraphrasing”, relying on gestures that allude to personal specifics and formal relationships that embody memories. These narratives also undergo material translations – where a painterly stroke becomes a three-dimensional clay form, which is then flattened as a photographic image, and/or laser-cut into a plexiglass shape – evolving the painterly gesture into a tangible object to be collected.
Sometimes the evolution of a gesture transforms my relationship to its identity. As they grow into larger, more physically substantial forms that can be held and carried, they become my “friends” in the real world. I name them. We share new experiences together. They develop new histories under new object-identities. Through this process they simultaneously exist in multiple formats - as art objects, collectibles, toys, action figures, paint, images, portraits, replicas, and idiosyncratic forms. Yet, with every iteration that exists, they remain reflections of those original gestures. As Jean Baudrillard writes in The System of Objects, regardless of the contents of a collection, “what you really collect is always yourself”.
“The mark”, revered and mythologized as the purest form of artistic intention in the art historical canon, becomes an act of subtle subversion with black female authorship and these methods of personal exaltation. In instances where my own sexuality and body appropriate the traditionally masculine gesture, abstract expressionism through my particular lens of sensuality, joy, and femininity investigates a space often overlooked by mainstream discourse.