Mar-April 2022

15 ft x 5.5 ft
Charcoal, graphite, colored pencil, tape, pastel, watercolor, walnut ink, and acrylic paint on quilted paper.

I come from a place of forgetting—a state of renaming and rebranding—of re-educating, re-constructing, and white washing. These scars definitely impact almost every part of my work. Remembrance begins to feel like an act of resistance.

    I initiated this piece in my usual impulsive manner. Leading up to this work, I was slowly creating a series of horizontal scrolls. These drawings all considered the path of one's journey to be a river: moving across the horizontal axis. I would offer, the metaphor of the river is instigated by the safety of the chattahoochee: the majestic channel of my home that slowly washes away (in vain) the sins of Georgia, layer by layer. Maybe, however, the temporal river is just a shallow regurgitation of my father’s love of Apocalypse Now, inundated with his dumbfounding admiration for its descent into the past. Anyhow, in this particular drawing I wanted to superimpose the river into the scale of the miniature, and I sought to shift the direction of the scroll from horizontal to vertical to compel the viewer, and myself, to consider the present an opportunity for positive change—to do something better despite the overwhelming frustration and fear of the past that defines me, and the perceived darkness of the road ahead.

As I hastily draped paper onto the walls of my apartment, ignoring my landlord's tyraids about holes in the gypsum, I wanted to nest the river within the precipice of two doorways on a corner. I was interested in the ways these paired doors, nearly facing each other, allow the viewer to see deep into the procession ahead of them, sensing the difference in perspectives behind oneself and forward. The doorways combined with the vertical nature of the scroll becomes a sort of trick. The viewer might initially think the primary axis of the narrative to be horizontal, in the connection between the doors, but the primary axis is truly vertical - in how this precipice and their contents define the moment - the present above, below, and around.

The doorway on the left looks into a piece of the past. The river flows meanderingly through my father’s billiard room (these masculine spaces seeking to create monumental remembrance while wiping away marginal identities), eventually finding its way upstream into the foothills of an Appalachian past. The fragments of the nurturing woods that formed me, long washed away by the river, have been shrouded by layers of division and trauma. What happens when we know the pieces we leave behind will be washed away?

The door on the right looks into the unknown future. It is unclear and dark, yet adorned with monumental promise and hegemony cloaked in progress. The column in the center tells the story of my own circumstances, stories and spaces that I remember in a skewed perspective that define my own internal narrative.

All of this has, in my usual fashion, left me with a piece that lives somewhat unresolved and messy. It wants to tear apart at its seams and fall to a pile on the floor, but I work desperately to keep it together. It wants to be forgotten, it begs to be forgotten, yet I refuse. I want to make such pain and trauma feel meaningful. The overwhelming nature of the present, above and below, leaves one with nowhere to rest. Your only choice is to keep breathing and absorbing.