I find that my projects emerge from lived experiences with bodies, healing, and death, while my research can take the form of discussions, rituals, and journaling. My practice hinges on the death of past selves, relationships, and people, with the creation of new selves through community, healing, grieving and growing. I have found myself reflecting on the words absence and presence through the pandemic; how we as both communities and individuals have experienced new depths of absence, and transformations in the ways we perform presence. I believe that through this collective turmoil we have a better understanding of how we want to approach being with each other.
This body of work began in 2019, when I developed an old roll of film that had photographs of my sister and I on a family vacation together. Seeing these pictures for the first time felt like I was sharing a new moment with a person I had lost, and it made me consider how our relationship had continued to grow and change since her passing. In the Absence of Presence is a meditation on the archival process, and how memory shifts when confronted with loss and grief.
Using gel medium to transfer the photographs onto slabs of drywall, the process involves a rubbing away of the paper that the ink has been transferred from, exposing the positive from the negative. During this act, there are nuances in the way that the ink reacts to the water I put on the paper, the texture from turning the paper back to a pulp, and the choice of what is revealed and what remains lost. The drywall acts as both a surface and frame, while also alluding to the idea of building home and community. This performance is informed by my personal grieving process and has become a way for me to connect with these memories.
Arrangements nods to the still life genre of photography, while documenting the passage of time through the different headstone saddles my mother creates. The silk backdrop makes reference to both the inside of a casket, and how these endowments transition from organic to synthetic with the change of seasons. Each arrangement is a labor of love for my mother, when I watch her make them I feel the depths of her love and resilience.