No Guts No Glory: Dissecting Flesh With Paint
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The human body is a finely tuned organic machine that man has learned to gainfully disturb through modern medicine. In embroidering, making prints and painting, I pictorially expose these disruptions while simultaneously revealing the intricate mechanisms that facilitate the functioning of our bodies. I assemble surgery scenes by building forms that both defy and celebrate flat representation in the hopes of rewarding introspection and inward reflection. Making monumental paintings, some measuring 5 × 7 feet, I hope to inspire reverence for our often miraculous physical integrity. In layering cumulative marks and working with saturated colors, I seek to investigate our internal configurations through a contemporary form of transubstantiation. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines transubstantiation as “the change by which the substance (though not the appearance) of the bread and wine in the Eucharist becomes Christ’s Real Presence—that is, his body and blood. In Roman Catholicism, transubstantiation, aims at safeguarding the literal truth of Christ’s Presence while emphasizing the fact that there is no change in the empirical appearances of the bread and wine.” I search for modern materials that become their likeness; paint is flesh just as bread is body. I construct layers, facilitating the paint’s corporeal conversion until it becomes more than a physical presence, existing in transformed space. Nearly two years ago, I underwent surgery that resulted in the removal of a rib. It was a traumatic experience that served to make me aware of my formerly undivided existence. The practice of surgery broke me as a whole, as I am now no longer physically absolute. However, my body has righted itself, compensating for its physical inadequacies and in turn I have found comfort in my partiality. My goal in making artwork is to present the idea that surgery, while a devastating disruption, can serve to make us intimately aware of our bodies as resilient, repairable entities. Especially through paintings, I attempt to inspire confusion about, and reverence for the body as a complete form while destroying perceptions of the individual self. Thus the paintings deal with simultaneously breaking-down and repairing physical realities. My artwork is grounded in personal narrative, but I hope it may also serve as a reminder of the complexity and resilience within all of us.