painting, drawing, collage
curated by Laura Henkel

A man who finds himself among others is irritated because he does not know why he is not one of the others. In bed next toa girl he loves, he forgets that he does not know why he is himself instead of the body he touches. Without knowing it, hesuffers from the mental darkness that keeps him from scream-ing that he himself is the girl who forgets his presence while shuddering in his arms. –Georges Bataille

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my own ignorance and insensitivity concerning interactions with people in my life. Politics have given rise to this focus recently. As an artist working in a narrative and figurative format, I feel my own interpretations of image and their depictions shifting and changing. With wishes for my own increased sensitivity and recognition come more openings for transgression to seep in. I feel art must be examples of truth beyond statements. Questioning of life as guided by the heart and soul are beacons. Hopefully passion can still exist however numbed by guilt one becomes.In Terry Gilliam’s Brazil: bombs explode within a restaurant where well-to-do affluent people gather to eat and flatter one another with words of inflation about their youthful surgeries and trendy fashion expenses. Fire, smoke, shrapnel, nothing fazes these purple poodles of an elite class because they are of a stature and class untouchable.

My petition is to remain in the studio asking questions even if there are no obvious answers.

For many years now I have been referencing the same compilation of erotic drawings and etchings by The Marquis Von Bayros. I have been combining and morphing this imagery to undermine the overt hetero-erotic nature of this beautifully patterned imagery. Within the works’ narratives already exists youthful curiosity to sexual experimentation as well as sub-missive and dominant roll playing between women, women and men, albeit under the harsh gaze of the male. By changing the gender identification of subjects I am able to exaggeratedly promote further transgressions (homo- and pan- sexuality; castration, death and rebirth, spirituality, laughter…) for the purpose of addressing erotic feelings within the viewer that he/she might feel to be exposed or exploited.
I look at these same images now, remembering Brazil, with a newfound avenue for transgression concerning ownership of place and things. The opulence of Von Bayros’ rococo environments cannot go unnoticed. Playful actions takes place across manicured lawns atop fountains that become sexually aroused them-selves, and within interiors filled with scrolling gilded frames, delicate linens and a plethora of flowing detailed patterned fabrics, strands of hair become their own intricate pattern work. Now I see these images of place as luxury and status of pillaged ignorance. In these new works I have a heightened awareness that freedom for self-expression/exploration need not require a place of safe opulence.

These are shifts in awareness that embolden expression to flourish and freedom to question the acceptance of self and others. These depictions make more public what happens in private.

For the first time in over 15 years I now live in a more conventional house in Joshua Tree, having left the urban live/work industrial warehouse I had be-come accustomed to. Because of this, these newer pieces take on new meaning simply in their size. They are not intimate drawings in a book, nor are they large bold statements that demand all attention in the room. Having new living quarters, I now under-stand that everyday living with more modest-sized glimpses into these alter-realities can provide more intimacy for engagement by the viewer. It can be a piece that can be glanced upon and pondered as I brush my teeth or simply walk from one room to another within a coexistence. As well, these new pieces can speak to one viewer at a time and offer insights more direct and personal.

I explore this in drawings with more elaborate decorative frames to mimic actions internally to then exude that sense of place within the reality of the place and room it exists. Collages on wood without such frames explore similar hybrids of themes using adult magazines joined together with sewn thread lines of color with a more haphazard sense of fleeting impermanence.

We are entering a time when more personal examples are to be shared as ways for people to persist to endure. In this place we are entering we plant truths that will be celebrated, tolerated and provide foundation like magnificent trees of a forest. For my part, I simply share entrance into my own germinating garden. And ultimately for the first time in my life as I write these words, I realize myself and my artwork have always been with one foot kicking in the church’s door and the other full-on shit in the gutter.

A kiss is the beginning of cannibalism. –Georges Bataille