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MYA GORDON


First Memories of Father, 2020
Oil on Canvas (48”x 36”)


Mother’s Milk, 2020
Oil on Canvas (40”x 30”)


Infancy, 2020
Oil on Canvas (30”x 34”)


Fire in the Kitchen, 2020
Oil on Canvas (44”x 38”)

I Dream of Four Women, 2020
Oil on Canvas (30”x 60”)



Colors, concerning ethnicity and pigment, are what I explore currently in my work. Color defines and confuses my identity in the process of my self-discovery. Being the child of a black man and a white woman, my biracial identity currently exists in flux between the white and black parts within myself. This tension is expressly represented in the colors depicted on the canvas. I paint the strokes of burnt umber laced in my father's skin tone, and I combine titanium white with tones of gold ochre for my mother's paler pink complexion. The depiction of myself results from a direct mix of my father and mother. In this exploration, I begin to place and come to terms with the various colors which blend to create my racial identity.

This study of my skin tone has recently taken me on a journey through my memories, starting from birth. Looking back to the images of my family during childhood, I'm seeking to find the origin of my relationship with my color, my ethnicity. I saw no strife at the center, no struggle, only comfort and love from my family. I paint these scenes to remember my innocence before I was aware of my skin color at all. In these paintings, I make bodies that are not hyper-real but are rather base forms for me to consider my connection at a basic level. Taking inspiration from both cubism and neolithic cave paintings, the soft round shapes portray the feeling of embracing and of the comfort of my parents' touch.

However, I'm not entirely interested in revealing the entire memory to the viewer. I take enjoyment in only releasing a pieced view of my childhood scenes. These intimate moments become veiled by the canvas itself. By restretching my canvas on the backside after completing a painting, the vital aspects bleed through. Walking away from each piece, the entirety of the memory is not as crucial as a deeper understanding of my mixed identity. These small lessons and bits of wisdom finally rise through the canvas and reveal what subconsciously begs to be seen.