I am investigating figurative positioning, open-ended materials, and vibrant color schemes within the context of a utopian world. As the word utopia translates to "no place," I have become interested in both the impossibility and the diversity of how each individual would define their own personal utopia. The concept of an ideal world would be vastly different for every individual but similarly unfeasible, as perfection is fleeting. In this body of work I am focusing on the iconography that has been deemed “perfect” to me as a young child and has resurfaced into my present ideologies.
The lack of achievability that comes with the term utopia creates an oxymoron when applied to art, as my art attempts to depict the "perfect" through my own imperfect lens. While I strive to develop utopias from different stages of my life, I still contain the human error that is non-existent within utopias. For example, in my current work I have been attempting to analogize my current experiences with those in my early teenage years, as I have found myself interested with the same iconography. In this way, my painting is being used as a way to work backwards and process the similar concepts of perfection between the past and present.
I am interested in the different conceptual schemes that arise when revealing or concealing my world. Through this understanding, I began to hide figures' faces when I would typically feel called to portray them. While it would make sense to follow my intuition as the painting is portraying my own perfect place, I still struggle with separating myself from the ideologies that my environment has imprinted upon me. Complete separation from these worldly pressures, would require a distancing from the people and environments that have shaped my mindset and begins calling my loyalties into question. I have used character building as a way to think through the opposition between my internal and external motivations and process the possible outcomes of following my impulses. Though character building is a large part of my process, I have found that veiling characters' whole identity has allowed me to generate interest in what is concealed and create a feeling of exclusion in the viewer.
My medium choices have also been increasingly integrated with my investigation of utopia, as I have begun working solely on unprimed canvas. Raw canvas has a minimal margin of error, as it is much harder to erase or cover up mistakes made with paint, which allows layers of the sketches made in charcoal to be seen through thinner coats of paint. This process creates a permanence of each movement I make throughout the entire process. Just as in life, each decision is permanent despite its intentions. Allowing the world to extend beyond the canvas enables a free flow of iconography to be expressed. Both the figures and I exist in both our world and their own, as they have overtaken my behaviors for the past few months and I have given them the totality of their identity.
Untitled, 2022 (Details)
Untitled, 2022 (Details)