Corporealism, as I have titled my interdisciplinary painting/sculpting/memoir/installation art practice, engages a contemporary iteration of two most ancient art forms: body adornment and storytelling. Through Corporeal paintings on flesh, subject becomes breathing, talking, testifying canvas, a living testimony to what was, what is and what may be; sculpted shells provide a cocoon-like space for incubation and transformation; and through installation, I create layered, dreamlike spaces of sound, ritual and visuals that inspire a multi-sensory experiential exploration of possibilities.
My tales are deeply informed by my heritage as both a multi-generational Black Los Angelina and a first generation Jamaican American of East Indian descent. Also woven into my work are childhood and adolescent adventures in the great Marian shrine known as Los Angeles and twilight animal slaughters followed by nighttime prayers in Ontario. This is the mingling point of deep, but recent (by conversion from Hinduism & Islam) Pentacostalism, my father’s rational atheism and Catholic all girls schooling. There is magic, mayhem and death as I approach adulthood in Berkeley/Oakland. Also, velvet black nights and matrilineal meridian lines in mystic Jamaica and misty London, where thicker than fog blood ties have summoned me each decade of my life. The actual creation of my body of work though, was largely centered within the black, fertile loam of the Brooklyn, NY arts community, where I toyed with adulthood. And now, myself a mother, I find myself back in my own personal motherland, she of the sparkling sidewalks and smog showy sunsets, Los Angeles, CA.
Using a potent blend of ritual, speculation and oneironautics, I create vastness and lucidity for myself, my subjects (typically my loved ones and community members) and my audience within the mad waking dream commonly perceived as reality. On an Afrofuturistic journey, with the fleshly body as craft, I utilize the been done and the as yet to impact reality and the perceptions thereof. Timely, to say the least, Corporealism speaks directly to the vital need for reframing the black body. This voyage is in pursuit of the alter-destiny, as proposed by Sun-Ra.
Mirroring the fleshly life, my practice brings up quandaries of temporality/the finite/the fleeting. Like layers of reality and skin, each painting is eventually peeled off and discarded, recycled or washed away. In this way, Corporealism engages the theme of deaths, both great and small. My work challenges traditional art historic notions of painting by turning to the body as subject, canvas and art object. In response to the challenges that emerge in eschewing the classic canvas, I have developed supplemental archival practices of memoir, photography and life casting as ways of courting timelessness, through preserving and documenting moments.
Working simultaneously upon the literal surface and at the figurative core, I layer reflection/projection/the haunting/the sublime/the vile/the otherworldly, as chariots into and beyond the unconscious. Major elements of my work are color and viscosity, through which I illustrate an oozing, bursting fluidity that celebrates the living, pumping warmth of the human body.
Utterly spellbound by the vast and prismatic spectrum of the human experience, a winking play between ephemeral divinity and raw carnality is ever present within my work.