The Japanese word for cut, kire, is more connected to aesthetics than its English counterpart. The aim of cutting is to create ma, a word that roughly translates as negative space or betweenness. Jeans, made of cotton and indigo, are deeply rooted in slavery. Through an act of unmaking, I use Japanese shears to dissect and strip (kire) the functionality of clothing, focusing on the material’s meaning. This work speaks of my own complicity in systemic racial injustice. I expose seams from below the surface, cut and assemble individual flies, and roll up balls of jean strips. No longer a castoff, this material is imbued with potentiality and through my process of close examination (ma), it remakes me.
You are Supported More Than You Know is both the title of this exhibition at Mercury 20 Gallery in 2019 and the name of the sculptural pillow installation that spans the wall from floor to ceiling. The pillow is a means for support for one’s head and a metaphor for one’s dreams. There’s a bit of mystery in how it all works. The title comes from an understanding that when one decides to follow curiosity or pursue passion, the world opens up and offers a wealth of support. The stack of pillows is reminiscent of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Princess and the Pea. The princess gets her prince in the end but only in her courage to speak her truth.
These previous three works speak of awkwardness or lack of understanding. Situated in a corner, the large unwieldy form, Over One’s Head as performed by The Rub represents a difficulty or obstacle. Originally situated atop a nightstand, The Rub now performs high above one’s head. The title is inspired by Hamlet’s soliloquy: Hamlet, Act III, Scene I excerpt (To be, or not to be):
To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
It's often not until my work is installed that I understand it more fully. Through Thick and Thin is a portrait of my marriage. The bedsheets speak of intimacy and their blue color is associated with faithfulness, depth and stability. Cut into narrow strips, sewn together and stuffed, the bedsheets become a bloated tube resembling entrails or the innermost part of something. Intestines are the part of the body most closely connected with intuition or inner knowing. The continuous line of fiber spans floor to ceiling forming u-shaped curves. As I cross the threshold of my height, I walk into an intimate space that separates me from the rest of the gallery. I am protected here and have the space I need.