The Endangerment of Words

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Dodge City KansasA prevalent symptom within the body of contemporary culture is the implosion and endangerment of words; words delivered in a very intimate, personal way beyond current trends of expression limited to ‘140 characters or less.’ These paintings explore the remnants of a disappearing culture as a kind of anthropological pursuit.

These are living vessels containing subjects and relevant ephemera, in effect recreating their dying environment in a captive context. In this new series, recreated letters recovered from my older family members (mother, aunt, grandmother, etc.) in painted glimpses. Recalling a period where handwritten correspondence was not executed for special or serious occasions, but as the primary mode of interpersonal communication. A letter could be romantic, uncomfortable, permanent or threatening: its respective psychological impact was lengthy and the act of erasing that impact required physical force. The transfer of these carefully-crafted words into paint is an effort to re-instate the potency of handwriting in an environment where literature is morphed into the e-book and correspondence is (nearly) universally understood as e-mail. Simultaneously, I am reclaiming a part of my own history, displaying an array of artifacts, reliving the stroke and tracing my psychic geneaology.

New York Inn

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NY INN – via Yelp. “really wish I could given this place zero stars. Stayed there for two nights. questionable holes in the ceiling (above bed and in the shower). Big hole in front door to room, could of been unlocked from the outside. Do not bring your kids or someone you plan to have a future with here.”

The National Identity Project: Nigeria

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Nigerian National Anthem by Ame (John) Anteyi: National anthems are meant for monumental surroundings: diplomatic visits, military parades and international sporting events. But what happens when an ordinary citizen is displaced from these environments and asked to sing their own national anthem without additional stimuli or fanfare? The effects of such an isolating experience is carefully and sensitively catalogued on film in The National Identity Project. Originally screened at the Brooklyn Museum, this film penetrates layers of self-reflexive contexts of nationalism, freedom of expression and personal pride. Filming against a controlled, neutral backdrop, subjects are exposed to an unusual psychological channel; one in which singing a stripped-down national anthem of their country of origin (not necessarily their current domicile) forces a reconsideration of their own social, political and cultural values as well as those of a larger audience. The solo acapella performances of songs which instill emotions ranging from peaceful passion to extremist rage or from collective trauma to fond nostalgia fundamentally changes the usage, reception and execution of such a wide-reaching creative gesture as a pledge or outcry of allegiance.

Paintings for Kyle McDonald’s
“People Staring at Computers”

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Project based on Kyle McDonald's "People Staring at Computers" photographs.