My Blends painting project began as a way to explore my multi-culturalism as a uniquely blended individual, along with the intention to collect and portray narratives from friends and acquaintances. Abstraction begins with content as the paintings develop from solicited lists and stories of real peoples’ cultural and ethnic backgrounds and experiences. The blended-ness of people creates interesting identity issues that the abstract “portraits” explore through formal investigation: colors are distinct, but layered together they become new forms, and the paintings develop as I join these parts into harmony. I explore edges where intentions slip and overlap, forming areas of rejection or incorporation, all with shimmering, saturated color and a glass-like surface that leans toward reflection. In this way, I am constructing composite “portraits” made up of colors and shapes that combine visually to create a new and complex identity. The paintings are exhibited with the stories.
Identity in our current state of things is becoming more complex, and so 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.