If life is a vast broth of tangled relationships and reactions, making art is how I chart my way through the soup. Because I was forcefully removed from my homeland of Mexico and from much of my family at a young age, I became accustomed to localizing my identity within a precarious juncture of memory, fact and fiction. My work draws from personal histories of migration and adaptation, and I’m interested in the emotional and communicative power of the image. My work is meditative in that it strives to dissect and understand the components of my experience and of my cultural and aesthetic legacy in a way that might give a greater understanding of the whole. Even as the symbols, architectures, and snippets of stories that I employ are deeply personal and autobiographical, I want my paintings to embody a shared experience. The ability for the viewer to live their own life inside my work is extremely important to me, as is the work’s potential to inspire new narratives. I am deeply influenced by the intersections between contemporary philosophy and eastern/buddhist tradition, including the recent writings of feminist and intersectional philosophers like Karen Barad and Donna Haraway. These writers strive to build an ontology and worldview that privileges intra-actions and entanglements between things and systems rather than a reality built upon discrete objects and hierarchical actions. Barad writes about describing reality as an apparatus, in which each person, animal, relationship, and mechanism is an essential component of the present moment. She writes about the tentacular and woven nature of agency, as well as about humanity’s need for new symbols and figures that better reflect our current knowledge of quantum physics and the nature of reality and the mind. If there is a need for new symbols, new words, new ways of seeing things, how can I add to the conversation as a painter?
My recent work is partly born from the struggle between the homogenizing power of technological globalization and the innate human desire to assert one’s uniqueness. What is the role of the tribal, the communal, and the artisanal in a society where the click of a button can connect you to the rest of the world, and global media conglomerates dictate the styles and cultural norms of millions? My stylistic influences are wide, from the perspective and mood in Japanese ukiyo-e printing, to the direct and tragic-comic nature of mariachi ballads and Mexican folklore, to the confrontation of indigenous, European, and even Tibetan Buddhist spiritual symbology. These all form a backbone that supports forays into new methods of working with abstraction and iconography. Much like the internet, my work forces the viewer to examine what is exotic and what is commonplace, as well as what is authentic and what is fabricated. Feathers act as brushstrokes, found objects become molds for painted sculptural elements, and paint is used in a way that both references as well as questions the history of the medium as a form of communication. I am interested in the ways that these materials engage the viewer’s understanding of history, progress, and time.