“UnTitled” focuses on a series of paintings featuring migrant workers in Doha, Qatar, a group I have observed while living and working in the area. The migrant workers fall within the lowest classes of Qatari society, they exist on the edges and handle varied forms of manual labor. The workers conceal and reveal their faces in an interesting and thought-provoking manner, but they are largely ignored. While their dress is aligned with regional trends, there are stylistic considerations present that express individual character. One does not see the worker’s face at all—their identity is completely masked. However, it is possible to get a sense of their personality and humanity. They are anonymous but still have hopes, dreams, and unique lives. By creating these paintings, I hope to elevate these workers to a place of importance—reposition them at the center of their lives, and provide them notice, recognition, and appreciation.
This body of work stands as a metaphor for the obstacles and challenges the region faces in this tumultuous time. At first glance, these paintings present an overwhelming sense of power and scale that sand storms possess. However, they still serve as a reminder that hope is waiting on the other side. These works explore both fascination and fear brought forth by this natural phenomenon and emphasizes on the idea that we all come from one dust. The brush strokes paint a picture of chaos, confusion and beauty of a region consumed by its own dust. I invite the viewer to embrace the dust, to embrace one another and to look forward for hope and a greater glory.
Doha is evolving and changing. As it morphs, city inhabitants bear witness to the disappearance of the past and realize disconnection with the future—even as it envelopes us at lightning speeds. All around the city, there is character, life, and history that is seemingly overlooked, and on the verge of being forgotten. By exploring these secret enclaves at night, unique scenes and views will be captured and their culture recorded. Nostalgically, these works will seize the mood of places that are soon to be lost to memory and will preserve overlooked icons and the haunts of yesteryear for posterity.
There is beauty—and nostalgia—in the old, traditional parts of Doha. However, there is also a heartbreaking reality. That authenticity, that unique feel, is disappearing, vanishing—and in its place, the future blooms and our memories and recollections are threatened by extinction. While it is impossible to stop the march of time or the influence of progress, there is imagination and thoughtful recollection to be found in capturing and preserving the secret spaces and hidden haunts that could very easily be erased forever by humanity’s need for ever present development—and subsequent destruction.
My approach to abstract painting is one that relies heavily on the use of my imagination in the creation of new bodies of work, the exploration of different marks, and for the acceptance of ambiguity so a viewer is allowed the ability to use their own mindful wanderings as they consider and interpret what I have made.
I strived to challenge the viewer to perceive spatial depth in these oil paintings by playing with edge and atmospheric perspective. By constantly breaking the boundaries of the push/pull relationships of the figure/ground I strive to create a sense of ambiguity and visual interest.
It is not always easy to describe how a painting, much less an entire body of work, is given life. At times, the paintings only show a fragment of what was first conceived, and on other occasions they end up blurring the idea even after engaging in an intense effort to put it in focus. While my main goal was to capture the mood and texture of Savannah, GA, sometimes the paintings moved further away from the initial form—even as I tried to get closer to what is in my head. This directly affects the viewer’s level of interaction, both on a psychological and formal level. I make art so that I may bring new creations into existence every day. It is my hope that I will positively shape and morph things to come.
Executed with Graphite on black paper, the Cloaked series look like black sheets of paper from most viewing angles. The graphite is shiny in nature and ultimately, the black paper used accentuates this effect. When an individual views the work from the proper angle, the effect delivered offers a privileged glimpse at the unveiled portrait. This, then, is a conceptual approach to portraiture that serves to challenge the viewer to ponder the meaning of identity in the region as well as their own voyeuristic interest when looking.
The skull drawings derived from my fear of death. I have been drawn (no pun intended) to the image of skulls since childhood and for me they represent a celebration of one’s life rather than the the symbol of death. They represent a certain history of the individual.
These works were created by utilizing a technique similar to that of “frottage” or “rubbing” in that they were made by making the drawing on the reverse side of the paper. This allowed for a certain level of chance and ambiguity to enter the work.
After breaking the wrist of my drawing hand I engaged in a process of learning to draw with my non-dominant hand. These gestured are a result of that process. I thoroughly enjoyed the level of unpredictability and ambiguity associated with these works.
These works were created by using the inkjet transfer technique. I overlayed multiple layers of transfers thereby creating a blurry effect. These works challenge the viewer to think about identity and meaning of portraiture in today’s world.
By blending abstraction and representation, I’m interested in the opposite-but-equal power of obscurity. Inspired by Michelangelo’s “Unfinished Slaves”, I disguise the subject matter and embrace ambiguity in order to address the power and politics of omission. By emboldening the omission, censorship becomes an obvious visual language, for the viewer to interpret. This brings the viewers way of seeing into play and challenges the cultural history and willingness to decipher the work.
In working with manipulated artistic gaze across modes and media, I hope to say something larger about the insistent materiality of visual art. The foundational craft of art provides the bridge between the artist’s mind and that of the viewer’s. It is up to the artist and the viewer both to mediate and explore the transmission.