Back to list Added Apr 22, 2012
My art practice is literally figurative. I paint portraits on wood, wood boxes, paper and canvas. I produce mixed media constructions from found and other objects and collage on canvas. The various methods, materials and mediums sometimes determine what I will express. The range of ideas that I am attracted to, mostly around race and gender issues, can take many forms.
The figures and faces that I paint are often portraits from history that I want to publish in accessible forms for people who are not historians and may not know about African American history beyond slavery, poverty and the Civil Rights struggle. I also work with multiple, overlapping faces and bodies that form their own patterns, an idea around the interconnectedness of humanity that is clearer and clearer as we experience similar crises on a global scale. Some portraits are hidden in plain sight, either as masks or people-populated landscapes on canvas. Always, these faces express my interest in the underexposed images in American history.
Embracing my ancient ancestry, I have been making my own version of masks that at once give a nod to the traditional culture of the motherland, Africa, while revealing the modern universality of African traditional art that invigorated the art practice of my European ancestors. As we know they were greatly affected by the African indigenous art and artifacts they saw in museums after colonialism. I mostly use wood and metals along with acrylic paints in my 3-D. Improvisation influences my painting method, moving me to approach my canvas not absolutely certain where I am going, until arriving, having the goal of producing a portrait or figure that I don’t fully “see” it until I finish.
My art practice continues to be an adventurous exploration, in truth it is a search for me in many ways and a conversation with the viewers. I hope those who see my work will find a bit more of undiscovered humanity.