Last summer I found an arrowhead in a dry creek-bed behind the house of a friend. I felt the chill of timelessness, touching an object made by a human, and a society, so far removed from this land as to be invisible in written history. Derek Gregory, in his book ‘The Colonial Present’, writes that “vision is always partial and provisional, culturally produced and performed, and it depends on spaces of constructed visibility.” As a resident of the United States of America, every move I make comes with a hint of a dull after-taste, a residue of something hidden, overlooked. I am interested in demystifying the material environments and economic systems that dictate our movements, interactions, and imaginations. On what framework are these systems built, on what beliefs are they premised? How do we identify the materiality of disparity and racism?
Coming from a background of narrative-based community mural-making I struggle with a sense of urgency in my desire to use art to elevate unseen stories. The more I learn of about propaganda and the more I see people divided by partisan opinions, the better I understand the shortcomings of message-heavy art. This is a fundamental struggle of young artists today; while we want our work to be meaningful and speak to the shared experience of a hyper-charged political climate, our self-expression gets tangled up with mixed motives. The main question I am asking in my practice today is this: what is honesty in painting? There is certainly value in unbiased observation. There is power in simply painting what I see, rather than creating a narrative about what I think I know. But stories are the basis of our understanding of self and community, especially here in the Appalachian Mountains. The angst of our time is valid. My objective today is to make representational paintings firmly grounded by elements of pure visual observation, that still reach towards unseen and imagined histories and futures.
I would like to paint a series of portraits of willing strangers from the local neighborhood surrounding the studio in Berlin. I plan to approach this project through a series of impromptu street interviews, (done in a safe, respectful, open manner), and recurring meetings with willing participants.Whether or not I will set up a table outdoors somewhere and engage passers-by, or simply attempt to engage various people I meet in the surrounding neighborhood in a more organic way, is yet to be determined.
The paintings will incorporate motifs from their material lives, imagery referencing their life stories and/or cultural lineage, and hopes for the future.Should it be a security issue at the studio, I can conduct all interviews and photo shoots outdoors.If the studio is willing to allow me to bring a few people in for live modeling sessions (fully clothed), I may choose to set up some live painting sessions.
Teaching Artist Project Summer Institute New York, NY
West Virginia University, RBA Morgantown, WV
University of North Carolina at Asheville, Asheville, NC
Saint-Francois Xavier Lycée, Vannes, France
EXHIBITIONS / PUBLIC MURALS*
Solo Exhibit, The White Room Gallery Thomas, WV
The Bench Salon Show, 123 Pleasant St. Gallery Morgantown, WV
Spring Invitational, Diamond Shop Gallery Morgantown, WV
The Great Disruption*; 315 sq ft exterior mural Marlinton, WV
Mural illustrating the local civilian experience of the Civil-War.
Triangle Park Mural*; 1300 sq ft exterior public mural Asheville, NC
Asheville Mural Project Artist Showcase; Courtyard Gallery Asheville, NC
Gone But Not Forgotten*;144 sq ft exterior public mural Charleston, WV
The Last Forest*;720 sq ft exterior mural Marlinton, WV
The Chess Players*; 1200 sq ft exterior public mural Asheville, NC
Chicken Alley Mural*; 200 sq ft exterior muralAsheville, NC
Internos(January 1st-28th) Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Greenbrier Artist Colony (Jan-Dec) White Sulphur Springs, WV
WORKSHOPS / PUBLIC LECTURES
Art & Math; Fibonacci Sequence Workshop; Yew Mtn Center Hillsboro, WV
Collage Workshop; United Church of Christ Art Club Asheville, NC
Public / Community Art Slide Lecture; UNC at Asheville Asheville, NC
Community History Presentation; YMI Cultural Center Asheville, NC
Public & Community Arts Lecture; Warren Wilson College Asheville, NC
Mural Workshop; Asheville Middle School Asheville, NC
Guest Artist Lecture; Asheville Art Museum Asheville, NC
Cooperative & Emergent Art Lecture,Asheville Design Center Asheville, NC
AWARDS / GRANTS
Osher Scholarship, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Greenbrier Valley Quarterly Zenith Award Lewisburg, WV
Regional Artists Project Grant, NC Arts Council Asheville, NC
Undergraduate Research Grant, UNC at Asheville Asheville, NC
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