My recent artwork shows a mixture of figurative, abstract, and nonobjective interests. These qualities usually seem to be in opposition, but for me, they have an equal importance in my printmaking process. Because of Andy Warhol’s aggressive approach towards art and society, my work began to explore ideas of empowerment through the abstracted figure and design elements using relief print, intaglio, screenprint, and monotype.
Physical power and strength of females are just as significant as the physical beauty we are conformed to. When I use figuration, I create the dignity of humans overall. I have a special interest in feminine identity. I remember my mother told me that she wasn’t allowed to play sports because of her gender. In response, I became the best I could be at my sport. This identity connects to physical beauty. Also, because the women in my family would gripe about my sense of style, I wanted women to love themselves as well just as they are. I want them to understand the essence of natural beauty. Using line and shape as it relates to the curves to the curves of the body and hair are elements I use consistently. It’s important for me to incorporate natural hair, especially of African American females because of how it has been degraded years ago. Black women’s hair was too wild and considered not tamed then. Therefore around the 70s, they were what were called pressing their hair with hot combs. Eventually this maneuvered into using a relaxer to straighten their hair to make it more presentable. These signify power through will power and knowing themselves.
Although some images begin with figurative imagery, that interest soon shifts to an interest in formal abstraction, interrupting the obvious recognition of the initial image. I achieve this goal by overlapping, layering, and incorporating my inner feeling to transform imagery and shift into a compositional focus. This approach fits the layering process of printmaking using screenprint, relief print, intaglio and monotype. I like to use linear and space elements to break up the flat shapes. Finding small fragmentary references to curves of the body or hair, but without the literal need are steps I take to add to the composition. Eliminating unnecessary lines to work with a simpler composition, my interest in fractured objects, and using quick energetic bursts of mark making are ways I create hints of imagery. Rauschenberg’s ability to explore art in the way he did with lithography helped me come out of my comfort zone to embrace the accidental and unconscious mark making that occurs throughout my work.
In my artwork I use varied lines and shapes that explore feelings of empowerment by abstracting the human form. Feeling free to disrupt the attachment to representational imagery is my way of feeling a sense of empowerment for myself.