Within This Skin: New Oil Paintings
…Working in layers and layers of oil paint, dry pigments, ink, gesso and waxes, the surface builds, cracking and breaking apart, flowing along small veins and rivers, building a landscape that is as endless as the black souls that will inhabit the painting….
Within this Skin is a series of oil paintings that began as a response to a deep exploration into my ancestral heritage, researching old records and wills, oral histories and images, into the very plantations where my family were enslaved—I realized that at a certain point, as an African-American, my blood becomes the blood of all black and brown people. I realized that to trace my line of history was to trace a much larger history that moved from wound to wound,and survival after survival. I realized that I am the great great great great grand child of a line of power that has survived and suffered. That in many ways, far too many ways, is still suffering and still trying to survive. What I see and have seen in my endless reading and study and witness as a brown woman in this country is the incredible intersection of these realities, those of immense power, heart-breaking suffering, survival, grace, and impenetrable resilience. My paintings are made on closet doors because these black and brown voices have always lived in the thresholds of American history, both in and out, silenced and stigmatized. Out of those surfaces each figure comes forth. Speaking stories of lynchings, rape, slavery, fear and oppression,alongside something deeper, more powerful, endless like the rivers. This stream that has flowed through all of the suffering of black and brown people to this very day, this very moment in our history of continued abuse, death, and oppression, flows into me, into my skin and my response is to trace back that unspeakable power through these works and the witnessing of them.