Almost Human


When I begin to paint, I am starting a conversation between the surface I paint on and myself. I most often work on a vertical surface, plywood, and depict forms based off of my materials, marks, and thematic explorations. My actions in painting are intuitive, yet grounded in a concern for capturing a human quality through abstracted figures and bodily allusion. Sigmund Freud’s The Uncanny deals with the idea of likeness, and the anxiety likeness may produce. The idea of the double, of confusing the self with another, is particularly necessary in my interpretation of my own work. My paintings become my double. In creating figures, I am crafting a discourse of a body that is invented—composed of motifs and motivations born of self-portraiture and an interest in character. The body I present is both existing and not. Ultimately, I aim to create work that suggests a human being without explicitly naming the work as human. As representation mingles with my conversation and address of the surface, my work becomes suggestive of body without being a body at all. In working with the anxiety of capturing the body and the authority of inventing the body, I engage in a debate with myself and with the history of my marks and the materials I select. In producing an alternate reading of the body, I reflect on a mixture of internal and external representations achieved through observation and physical decisions. I call on a tradition of dismantling and digesting likeness by looking at cartooning and Abstract Expressionism in particular. While suggesting human physicality through imagery, I am working in a way that doubly physical through gesture. My subject matter is always human in some way. The motifs I introduce come directly from shapes I’ve observed in the figure, which I continually reapply to find symmetry with other shapes at different scales. An arm becomes a thigh becomes a shin becomes a finger. I most frequently reference my own body, and rearrange the shapes in a way that I feel maintains their humanity and autonomy without being explicit. As I continue my work, I am further developing my interest in internal voice. These paintings have begun to develop as products of character, even as their nameable attributes are disguised.



painting, The Uncanny, double, art