acrylic, watercolor and oil, 2009-2019
From imaginary portraits to abstract landscapes, painting has always been a medium through which my inner worlds and internal processing of external events express themselves, and stories and characters emerge. For instance, I painted a portrait of an imaginary "Afghan Boy" in 2009 during the US War in Afghanistan. The face is defined with dark lines and a frank gaze outward while he is suspended in a diffuse background of smokey shadow and poppies dripping like blood. In this moment, with a little patch of yellow hope in the righthand corner, his fate is still uncertain. Revisiting it now I think of other children in America and abroad for whom I wonder: If we play hide and seek enough you will survive. If I teach you to run can I keep you alive? In "Any Day Now" (first exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum) I pushed toward abstraction for a vision of imprisonment that, paired with the title, puts it in a historic context of uncertain lengthy sentences, mass incarceration, and the greater idea of freedom within and outside of the prison system.