The physical process of painting – its vitality – is integral to my work.
My work has transitioned from emotionally charged abstract imagery painted on non-traditional surfaces to figurative paintings on canvas with mixed-media. My work gives visual expression to my experiences growing up in the South in a large family rich in lively personas. The work explores in a unique manner memory, myths, folktales and spiritual beliefs.
Artist standing in front of mural installed at entrance of Fine Arts Center, University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI.
My working process begins with observations, in-depth research to clarify ideas, making photographs for study purposes and creating a series of drawings to work out compositions prior to painting. My artistic journey is a continuity of ideas and themes expressed through experimentation of media, surfaces and studio techniques. There is always something new that pushes my work forward at the same time I’m constantly returning to old ideas. In the end I realize what is required to finish each painting. Challenging myself to test out new ideas and materials keeps the vision moving forward. There is personal satisfaction when I am able to free up time to work nine to twelve hours a day in my studio.
Past challenges have set the stage for my new body of work comprises of large scale paintings (87” x67”) of meticulously composed human figures in homage to the classical techniques of masters such as Caravaggio and Michelangelo. The figures are posed within cluttered spaces reminiscent of Dutch paintings. I incorporate a translucent and bold color palette, dense patterns and energized surfaces found in African American homes and diverse communities. These household objects represent a range of emotions and memories for those who inhabit the space.
My current work evolves from a two-year + exploration developing surfaces incorporating mixed media including stencils, stitching, fabric, glue which are integral to the painting. This work in progress moves my contemporary paintings into a new phase of creativity. I am interested in metaphorically depicting life-size figures in various emotional and psychological states and invite the viewer to contemplate its meaning.
I treasure this work as household “shrines” possessing personal, political, and spiritual significance.