Utopias is an ongoing body of work that includes photographs, paintings, drawings and objects. It is inspired by familial figures and close relationships from my life. I began this project in the summer of 2016 and there are currently two instalments of the work that are finished (Alone Together and New Work) while two other series of works from this research are in-progress (Islands 2019- and The Fog 2020- ).
Alone Together 2018 (Photography)
The photographs in this project are documentary, offering still life, environmental and individual portraits. For this section of the work, I spent time submerged in each person’s belongings and spaces of refuge. The presence of the camera and my photographer behaviors mediate distance and intimacy been myself and those photographed. The goal of documentation provides instruction on how to move through these cloudy, island-like homes and relational spaces. When I create these types of photographs, I create an archive of realities that are otherwise difficult for me to name or describe.
The images in this series are not important because they are true or because they can be beautiful. They are important because of the documentation they claim to provide and the absences they inquire about.
New Work 2018 (Painting)
It is impossible to tell authoritative stories about others, especially when they are not really there.
My drawings and paintings here offer symbolic, fantasy-based, re-imaginations of the relational conditions and physical worlds of these relationships and personas.
The likeness of each person in photographs is referenced but made opaque. Replacing documentary ideals are the outlines of a pose or the erasure of a figure altogether into unrecognizable, painted environments. The body emerges as a key interest. Its infinite presence in negotiating solitude and reality.
utopia means no place
ou ‘not’ + topos ‘place’
Solitude is defined in relation to communion that is absent. There is no one without the other. I enjoy trying to represent a visual space between this opposition: a togetherness and separation that doesn’t know how but feels optimistic.