We are the sum
of our life experiences, and those experiences are what I seek to define.
A prolonged illness, the death of a loved one, the joy in witnessing the birth
of a child, these are significant milestones in a personŐs life. I have become
increasingly concerned with relating the emotional and physical tension brought
on by these events. My primary concerns are with the fragility of the body
and the resilience of life. I have a strong desire to believe in something
eternal. Sometimes, I am lost in contradictory feelings of hope and despair,
but creating art helps me clarify what I believe.
While other Chicano artists find inspiration in the heroic work of the Mexican
Muralists, I am attracted to things more interior and personal. Mexican shrines
and altars as well as other objects of personal devotion have been my inspiration.
The process of creating an altar installation allows me to utilize a wide
variety of materials. The proximity and position of these diverse elements
unite to create a larger thematic message. I work intuitively allowing my
initial attraction to a particular material or image to inform the work.
Recently, I have been concerned with representations of birth, growth and
regeneration. The latest work makes use of plants as a means to indicate the
processes of life. At the opening of the exhibition, the plants are fresh
and alive, but with time, the plants reach their peak and begin to wither.
The two works Vigil and The Leaf & The Flame reflects my concerns
with the fragility of the body, its ultimate destruction and transformation.
Vigil is a pivotal work in my career. Through this work I discovered
that a strong emotional response could be evoked in the viewer without utilizing
an image or creating a narrative. Emotion is conveyed solely through the choice
of material and the manner of application. The absolute weight of lead conveys
burden, struggle and regret. The lead is pieced together using hundreds of
nails creating a heavily worked surface. This suggests the difficult physical
and emotional process of keeping vigil by the bedside of a loved one. The
lamp is a symbol of hope, longing and spiritual enlightenment that comes during
these difficult times. The inspiration for Vigil comes from the Prayer
of St. Augustine: Watch O lord with those that wait and watch while others
The Leaf & The Flame is about transformation and my attempt to reconcile
the inevitability of death. In this work, a sculpted book floats over a background
of crushed red velvet. The color red is sacramental; it is the color of passion,
sacrifice, and spiritual rebirth. The book references the Bible and the mythic
Book of Life. On the left page is the image of a leaf and on the right is
the image of a flame.
The images are related, each is approximately the same size and shape; in
reality each lives, consumes energy, grows and dies. The leaf represents the
spirit becoming physical and the flame symbolizes the transformation of the
physical into the spiritual.