As an artist, I use aquatic landscapes and sea creatures to embody both beauty and horror expressed in femininity. Like another world, the ocean is both a familiar and foreign kingdom, made up of complex and diverse biomes. Their intricacies evoke concepts of the alien, of the elegant, and simultaneity. Indeed, they internalize sameness and opposition, being a mother, a god, and a powerhouse cultivating creation and destruction. These conceptions are envisioned as headdresses and fantastical installations. In my travels to Marco Island, Florida, I would kayak around the exposed mounds of seashells when the tides recede during sunset. I would perch my kayak onto one of these mounds and investigate this new land. I found a luidia senegalensis, a type of starfish with nine arms, crawling across a shallow tide. I carefully lifted it and felt its spiny body against my hand. Like a woman’s body, it was beautiful, scary, and yet, mesmerizing. In this same spirit and energy that I had felt about the ocean compared to the features of a woman, I mirror their elegance and complexity. Similarly, sea creatures are beheld as figural curiosities living in an artificially created reef of estranged lifeforms.
Throughout my research, I have become increasingly interested in bringing my prints into the three-dimensional plane, which I find it to be an effective way to encourage my viewers to investigate these curiosities. I consciously lure my viewers into a visual dance with a profusion of color and mixed materials in my prints and three-dimensional works. I use beauty as a tool for evoking emotions from my viewers like desire, and as a tool to be heard as a maker. While there is no correct standard of beauty, the power of attraction still references something universal-- something bodily and vocal. My work conveys sensible features of the terrain, as well as the animalistic. I focus on emulating only the creatures’ core essence, whether that be in color, behavior, or build. Through this, I formulate suggestive images and sculptural shapes which simulate the vivid, aquatic surroundings.
As a consequence of this process, my work no longer draws its influences from actual translations of what my compositions emulate from, but rather, as deformations and fragmentations. Its faux and material appearance, both environmental and living, selects arbitrary resemblances from marine life and elaborates them as outlandish and creature-esque. I fixate on the complex nature of this integration and what beautiful and alluring power it holds. Especially in my headdresses, they are devices of seduction to conjure the act of attraction between the viewer and their beholder. However, like masks, they also emotionally obstruct the viewer from seeing behind the solid fabrication of textiles. Instead, they create a façade and invite the viewer to intoxicate themselves with its visual pleasures. Their ability to manipulate and persuade through flirtation provides a ritualistic cycle that is harbored by the interior motives of the headdress pieces -- seduction, mystery, and power.
My prints and headdresses are pulled from their natural habitat and into the blank space of a gallery. They appear and behave like a strange anomaly as they starkly contrast from its inorganic environment. As an intriguing specimen, they silently possess the viewer to look at its foiled and beaded embellishments. Beads and foil hold decorative qualities of color and light. Their shiny and matte textures on paper and fabric breathe energy and vigor into the hybrids of animalistic terrains, specimens. Within the niches of my foiled work, beads build up like crystallized deposits that fabricate points of interest throughout the composition. Together, these varied materials pay homage to my inspiration from other great artists into light. Artists like Nick Cave, Crystal Wagner, Bianca Severjins, Iris Van Herpen, and Daniel Ramirez contribute in my choice to use beads, fabric, foil, and paper in my work. They all share an eclectic personality of pairing colors with texture and media that I study to achieve my version of a ‘figural curiosity;’ a created being, as a place of contextual reference, or like an animal that embodies human-made materials to mimic living things.
CSPS Main Gallery