My art explores safety. I use the imagery of skin cells, merged with the linings from security envelopes to examine the skin as an protective envelope for the person. In the process of this work, I discovered it is just the amount of melanin or blue-white connective tissue that determines our skin color. Also, genes are adaptive enough to adjust skin pigmentation to the UV radiation levels that it is exposed to in a matter of 2,500 years.
It is a tragic irony that as bodies work to provide protection from nature, the exact process of varying pigmentation has led to much danger in the social landscape. Clearly this is the responsibility of hate and fear, not nature's processes - however, this concept is why I began to create the “skins”.
The encaustic dipped fabrics acknowledge Byron Kim’s Synecdoche, and Eva Hesse’s Aught. Synecdoche addresses the problem of substituting skin color for the whole of a complex identity. Hesse’s abstract Aught, holds beauty and emotional connectivity which inspired me to relate it to the cultures that I seek to honor. Unlike either of those pieces, my work has an added element of violence. The nails and the idea of these fabrics as hides illustrate this cruelty. I think it is impossible to begin exploring ideas of skin tone and race without acknowledging that wrong has, and sadly, continues to be done. As a white artist, I want to learn what I can do to help change this.