Fuck your feelings (erasewipeoutdisengagesuppressburydestroy)
Day 445, week 64
Quiver, oil on canvas
Woman with Chairs
Lethal Love. Coloring book pages, black lava medium, gold flake medium, dryer sheets, acrylic, and oil on canvas. "Never trust people who don't have something in their lives that they love beyond all reason."
My dad used to draw coloring books for me when he couldn't afford to buy them. For those of us who used to color aimlessly, as children of immigrants, wasn’t it a privilege?
In Fredrik Backman's Beartown, seeking justice for an irreparable tragedy is met with resistance for the sake of protecting the trajectory of a town—and a boy—poised for greatness.
What else will be done—no, what else will we do, how far will we go in the name of love (for country, for god, for blood, for power, for life)?
Day 300: My Large Glass is shattered on the floor. I don’t know if Lichtenstein would appreciate this or be rolling in his grave. I copy the brushstroke free-hand, and it gets less and less accurate. I let it. It’s “painstaking,” just like he wanted. It’s deadpan Lichtenstein but also splattered with glitter. A re-personalization of a depersonalized work, a merging of control and spontaneity.
I color it flat on the floor. It’s calming like a coloring book. It’s like an exhale. A coloring book inspires something between the automatic and the deliberate. In this de-pressurized zone, the impulses of AbEx are allowed to waver, but there’s no reason to mimic the graphic since it’s already there.
There’s broken glass everywhere. In the doorway. On the rug. On the canvas like an nonsensical mosaic. If anything, I’m not exalting the brushstroke but rather accepting it as an outline, as reproducible. What’s “genius” is layered with the banal, what’s art is pierced with the everyday.
The figure is repetitive, fast losing the fascination I wish I had the ability to imbue in it. What is it (am I) missing? I am painting a person, but I find myself painting brushstrokes instead. I have less and less of a desire to separate whole and parts, background and figure, to assert form over and against the canvas. Instead, the canvas permeates through like backlight. It is painted then drawn. Layers for texture not form.
There is a feeling that I am not through with the figure, but it isn’t giving me the thing that I want. I am touching those borders (between abstract and figure) which have been imposed, overhauled, obliterated, negotiated, misconceived, but at what point? Some lines are not made but left behind.
Wedding Cake (After Fool's House)
Oil, string, packaging tape, wax
I remember when I first saw a flag (not in passing, not while regurgitating the Pledge of Allegiance), and not just any flag, but a Johns flag.
Always stubborn to tedious layering, probably from formal affinity to the stroke, I wanted to heighten the pictorial qualities of the canvas through its interaction with the background and image. This kind of transparency both forms illusion and flattens the picture plane, confusing form and depth. There's no need for shadow; this is no real space. A certain kind of refreshing breathability. A string can function as anything—steam, background—yet still maintain its identity. A piece of tape is glued on using paint, altering the function of materials both in real and illusionistic space.
The whole object can be substituted by any of its parts, whether alone or repeated, since the image of the signified (wedding cake) adheres to tenuous, and even debatable, guidelines (cylindrical, tiered).
Study of a Left Foot
I remember how it looked. The whiteness, the way my skin opened up.
There was a disjointed sense of time. I remember the experience as a few discrete images over a period of hours. Everything that happened in-between to the actual injured area I didn't see, and will never know as memory.
It feels like there's a progression here, but it's unclear what's covering what or what's flowing up or down in this orientation. It's a period of time, frozen. I don't know how long it is, or how to unfreeze it. I find in it a sense of urgency, since there's no completion with either color. That leads to anxiety about what will happen beyond the frames, and whether it's what I want. In the end, no matter how violent or reassuring it is, only this image in front of me matters.
Before turquoise, there was ultramarine, which I still hold dear in my heart. I think of this as the frame and an alternative. Of course, everything is still flat on the canvas, which is still a regular-shaped canvas, so there's nothing really new. But there's a frame, and there isn't. The edges disappear inside another frame. This allows the shapes to interact beyond their colors. In a way it feels like you can transgress the physical frames without having to acknowledge that they're there, like you usually would if an object were painted continuously over distinct canvases. The tone progressions also establish a movement of going in and out of the picture plane while exploding outside of it. So you can enter and leave without being trapped in an endless loop or sliding right out. I think this is a painting that isn't site-specific or anything but still gives you options on how to experience it.
There's no fog in my dreams. What had seemed dead jolts alive now, electrifying.
When I was younger I chased the figure, to mold it onto the canvas. But the aura needs so little to take hold of a surface. In the stroke where I stripped the eyes from the figure, it became destroyed (not the form, but itself) as something first built and then demolished. The wreckage is still a figure, albeit as stripped as it was never fully created. I made sure the essentials remained, but an aura needs no eyes, in the wake of expressionistic landscapes (where the mental and physical burst into each other like that kaleidoscopic scrape), not anymore. She is more canvas than she is paint, a figure behind the "figures" of color, yet simultaneously wrenched to the forefront as a whole. I don't think seeing her lends more order to the descriptions of depth, but rather complicates them more.
Scars are the healed forms of intrusion (or extrusion). The visible realization of interactions with our imperfect bodies, both masking and indicating the memory of violence (the act of living). This is the inevitable progress of skin/body.
Scars look just like scorch marks. They reach up like roots, caressing like constellations. I was stumbling in delirium, laying down paint with my fingers. This time the canvas burned. The wax dripped through it. Oil, acrylic, lavender/eucalyptus/cantaloupe-scented wax, dryer sheets, cotton fabric, metal chain.
How can trauma be encoded? I lose the memory in translation, its representation altered to the point of erasure. To attempt to depict is to override. Oil, eucalyptus-scented wax.
I wanted to reignite something, so I put my lighter to the canvas (It didn't burn). No orientation. Oil, lavender-scented wax, acrylic ink, wine.
The more I attempted to find the memory of that experience, the more I realized that linguistic and visual descriptors have tainted it irreparably by now. Pink in my unconscious, long gone now, pink in my marker doodles, which we continue to perpetuate (especially through disavowal) as a signifier of outdated femininity.
1. They ask me to rate my pain. I think about period cramps. 2. A female surgeon looks down at me, says, "If you were a man, you'd be screaming bloody murder by now." 3. I hallucinate pink. 4. A man screams next to me, on and on and on. 5. I paint pink with AbEx aggression.
Acrylic, black lava medium, acrylic ink.
The Gunks, Scratchboard
Base of Kaaterskill Falls, Catskills
Platte Clove Artist-in-Residency
Artists' Rock, Catskills
Platte Clove Artist-in-Residency
Mountains with Eyes
From the Village with the Old River-powered Mill
My father travels to experience an unknown China, far from the crowded cities and Mandarin Chinese. Deep in these mountains, his camera shows me the minority cultures which speak to his roots. He doesn't shoot like a tourist, but like someone who left a village longing to return, even as he watches high rises spring in multitudes from the now paved ground of his beloved hometown.
Purple and Gold
I always say this is the last landscape I will ever paint, and it is never true.
Red River Gorge, scratchboard
I stood atop the world that day, marveling. Arches National Park, UT.
Futures flying past as I'm stuck in a moment.
Orientation is uncertain
I. Fruit Holds
The Gunks, scratchboard
Nature Will Madness
Seeing with anemia
Into the Wild
Orange Mountain Majesties
On a bustling Beijing street famous for its tourist shops, expensive restaurants, and nightlife, where graduate students empty their pockets on native sweets (according to my dad, who speaks from experience), a man plays the erhu and sings, his melodies illuminated by camera flashes. At his feet sits a can overflowing with loose change. He is Old Beijing, whose architecture China preserves in Beihai. In the midst of Modern China, he is the quiet ode to the past.
She's Not Looking
Falling to Pieces
Castles in the Air
Wa Ethnic Group
Black, the Blind Remembering
Where The Sea Meets The Sky
Strange New World
All the Forgotten Kingdoms
Heritage Rose Elementary Mural
Heritage Rose Elementary Mural
Call of the Plains
The Long Way Home
Anything and Everything
Something Nutty's Ahoof
The Wind's Anthem
Lost in the Echo
The Sums of Our Desires
Black History Month
The Honest Empty Versions
Commission for Mrs. Grist
Three Hour Portrait I
Three Hour Portrait II
Three Hour Portrait III
Three Hour Portrait V
Three Hour Portrait IV
Three Hour Portrait VI
Three Hour Portrait VII
The Great Wall
Shades of Red
Van Gogh Study
I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to paint murals at two schools. In eighth grade, I painted the "Raider" at Quail Valley Middle School, and in ninth grade I painted two opposing walls in Heritage Rose Elementary. The landscape was a commission from a friend. These are the largest pieces I have ever painted, but hopefully not the largest I will ever paint. My elementary school (Barrington Place) has an absolutely beautiful mural, and I have loved murals ever since I first set eyes on it.