In the 70’s, Felix Gonzalez Torres advocated, “As cultural producers we should be very aware of what the culture is doing. We must read the newspaper…” and that the New York Times was his “greatest source of inspiration”. While the New York Times served as a daily touchstone for me, a struggle with neurological Lyme Disease left me grappling with focus, word recall and short-term memory making it very difficult to stay engaged and informed. Since I strive to make work that is authentic and honest, I decided that if I could no longer take information in, I would remove it. That initial intimate performance of redaction with an X-ACTO knife on a newspaper page intrinsically moves beyond the personal and gestures toward themes of censorship, marginalization, bias and subjectivity and has galvanized my projects for the past 5 years. This act serves as a source for my collages, prints, textiles and wall relief.
In Looking Awry, I scan, enlarge, reprint and rupture front-page images from the New York Times newspaper creating labor intensive wall reliefs mounted on 3-D hand-made wooden “pixels”. I am referencing the aesthetic of corrupted digital files, a riff on political corruption. Interspersing mirrors, I implicate the viewer.
In Zeroing and Genizah, I engage cultural systems that manufacture belief, from advertising to the Bible. To “zero” is to recalibrate value. The Hebrew word “Genizah” is a repository for damaged sacred text. Through the delicate removal and reinsertion of text and image with an X-ACTO knife, I maintain enough of the physical structure of the newspaper to suggest its original narrative function while building a new visual vocabulary of gridded gaps, natural forms and web-like constellations of words. By pinning the work away from the wall, shadows become an integral part the piece, referencing Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and the layers of mediation between truth and what is perceived. And by overlapping pages, I show how each sensational story replaces and mutes what came before.
In Redacted, I use cut newspaper pages as stencils for screen prints. The pages act as sliding doors that reveal and obscure appropriated images from international and environmental crises. Small redacted and inverted advertisements hover like ghosts in their respective slots; I am reclaiming these luxury items, imbuing them with significations of legacy and value. Zeroed is comprised of nine prints bearing faceless and inverted black and white watch ads, images of objects that will remain after we die and another reference to the recalibration of value.
My newest project, The Last Color: A Reliquary is a multi-disciplinary act of redaction and reification of meaning; removing the newspaper completely, I leave behind its fragile blue casing. I have imagined a post-apocalyptic collapse of language and rediscovery of communion through a transformative engagement with the plastic sleeves that once protected daily news articles and opinions from the elements. The first iteration of The Last Color: A Reliquary was comprised of fused plastic textiles called Asemic Prayers made from New York Times delivery wrapping, gouache and ink studies that act as “keys” for the fold patterns in the textiles, excised ink transfers of fold patterns and graffiti on broken slabs of hydrocal and newspaper cuts. The show culminated in a performance that combines the haptic experience of repetitive making and the cognitive act of finding meaning. I am exploring truth and beauty as sensations that can be felt and decoded through a somatic engagement.
In all of my work, the formal conventions of mass media collide with the more metaphysical aspects of knowing and believing: hands-on craft, repetition, beauty and ritual.