Repurposing is a consistent thread found throughout my work. Initially driven by need, recycled house paint and discarded bed sheets served as my primary tools as I could not afford materials to make art. Over time, my need for these materials diminished yet my desire to use them strengthened. I find purpose in turning waste into viable art.
My work can be viewed as two distinct but closely related bodies. One body relying heavily on painting and the history of abstraction to respond to found objects while the other employs the techniques of various crafts to comment on consumerism and the divide between craft and art.
Because my work is now situated between painting and sculpture, the materials have evolved to include items such as found fabric and wood, pieces of home decor, and tchotchkes. Most of these items either lack function or have outlived their intended purposes but find new meaning in the work. For this body of paintings the found object is primary. Despite being forgotten or discarded, these artifacts retain value in the histories and stories they have the potential to tell through the work; they carry in them the means to create fictional narratives about past owners while simultaneously eliciting personal memories from the viewer.
As a maker, I find meaning in the acts of sewing, weaving, and woodworking, but I also know these activities to be draining. I have developed personal conflict in the desire to make but the ease in consuming. Our culture deems making an unnecessary act: why should one sew their own clothing when it’s cheaper to purchase? By starting with a mechanically produced object and elevating it through craft, my work is an act of rebellion, albeit a personal one, to our mass-produced world. It’s a way to value the value-less.
Dress to Impress, for example, investigates the way the body is used as a signifier of social status and an outlet for individual expression. A person’s education, economic status, and emotional well-being are often assumed by one’s physical appearance, specifically, one’s attire. This piece was created by stitching together the clothing tags of every article of clothing I owned at the time. The tags were stitched into interlocking chain-links that shift in color from white to black. When a wardrobe is scrutinized this way, patterns of brand loyalty, personal taste, and financial abilities are revealed. Clothes that can provide genuine individuality are often unattainable by the working class leaving one to create a unique identity through the mass-produced. These mass-produced goods are purchased with the understanding that they are made from cheap materials and by individuals who themselves can barely afford the items. The chain symbolizes both the guilt one might feel in consuming this way and the complacency with which one does it.