My Blends project began as a way to explore my own multiculturalism and expanded to collect and portray narratives from friends and acquaintances. Paintings develop from solicited lists and stories of real peoples’ cultural and ethnic backgrounds and experiences. The blended-ness of people indicates identity issues that the abstract “portraits” explore through formal investigation: distinct colors layer together and become new forms. The paintings develop as I join these parts into harmony. I explore edges where intentions slip and overlap, forming areas of rejection or incorporation, with shimmering, saturated color and glass-like surfaces leaning toward reflection. In this way, I construct composite “portraits” of colors and shapes that combine visually to create a new complex identity. The paintings are exhibited with the stories.
People bring their families and histories along with them. My friends’ Blends come with them to me, forming a web that intersects with modern world history. As identity in our current state of things is becoming more complex, I believe it is increasingly urgent to consider. To me, identity is not one- or two-dimensional, but multi-layered. Our edges are not as defined as they were even decades ago. The need to allow for openness and empathy in our relationships with others is clear when we witness closed boundaries as a root of adversity. Using my abstract visual language I aim to celebrate and value human difference, in the hope that the more we appreciate and see each other’s uniqueness, the more effectively we can relate with one another to build a better world.