January 1, 1998 - January 31, 1998
Soul Searching/ Digital Montage Series
Working digitally provides me with a way to creatively extend my autobiographical/African diaspora exploration. It allows me to combine my photographs, drawings, family snapshots, and antique photographs which I collect. My work is an eclectic blend where I weave together my ideas, memories, and discoveries in order to enshrine the symbols and curios of my life into cryptic combinations that take on a life of their own. Time and space are warped. People across generations can be introduced who never met in real life. Because of the suggested associations created by the various juxtapositions, I often feel that the images talk to me as much as I control and manipulate them.
The montages call to mind the household shrines under the glass of coffee tables and dressers, shelves and wall displays. These areas usually feature photographs of family and friends as well as personal relics and memorabilia. They are the visual equivalents of, and memory triggers for, a fading oral history. Sometimes the stories have been forgotten, the faces are no longer remembered, but the traces remain.
The background patterns are based on a fascination with tile, textile, and wrought iron designs. They embrace a variety of influences, especially those of African origin. The different components are stacked or isolated in their own compartments more often than they are seamlessly merged. Sections of some of the montages seem to function like assemblages placed on fabric.
In the recent images I am more frequently incorporating facial portraits with patterns that I have drawn. Although the designs don’t have specific meaning or ritual functions, the spiritual and transformative power of tribal masks and body ornamentation are the sources of motivation.
It is my intention to create mythic images that combine a sense of implied narrative with the presence of ritual. The montages address cultural coding as well as private enigma. They usually contain elements which reflect an African American identity and refer to the complex relationships with mainstream society. Self portraiture remains an important element in the work, which I recognize as a romantic search of my ancestral roots and cultural heritage. The montages are meant to function as a visual cultural crossroads.