My work is autobiographical, stems from my position as a Black woman marking space, and responds to the travails of my ancestors. I have a multidisciplinary visual art practice based on an interpretive exhibit design and architecture career spanning more than three decades. I tell stories using quotidian objects such as felt-lined bulletin boards, clothing, hair, handmade paper, timecards, and text.
My background encompasses the critical examination of visual culture. As an artist, I record, interpret, and make aware the complexities in which humans exist and affect their social surroundings. As an architect and designer I creatively solve problems related to the structural systems within virtual and built environments. My visual art making practice is a combination of past professional disciplines, present lived experiences, and the cache of contemporary and historic research accumulated. My initial and ongoing project—The Burden of Invisibility—is the physical manifestation of my evolution from designer to visual artist, as well as a reaction to the world around me.
My artwork is also grounded in the belief that studying visual culture is a transformative experience. As an emerging cultural producer with a social justice practice, my goal is to engage audiences who may benefit from the ways visual culture incites the imagination to see the world differently, and eventually empowers and provides them the agency to creatively contribute to it.
Felt bulletin boards, plastic letters, aluminum frame.
Language of Invisibility on Display consists of missives that bear witness to the acts of invisibility performed upon my being. The black letters on the black felt evoke the concept of near illegibility while the signboards’ format visually communicates arresting messages. By strategically substituting certain black characters with white ones, a subliminal reading is revealed across the four panels: REFUSE ME HELP I FEEL INVISIBLE.
Legion Stonehenge black paper, black foil stamping, white foil stamping, blue ink, silver ink.
4 x 11” each, placed in a grid
As a housewife, my grandmother’s labor remained invisible to her husband and sons her entire life. Using the “time card” format, this artwork visually documents the devalued travails my grandmother executed inside the home during her marriage to my grandfather. The twelve wall-panels house 813 cards (one for each month of the 67 years she toiled, plus nine cards that announce each decade the installation encompasses). The time cards were printed by debossing custom-created polymer timesheet plates into the surface of black paper using blue ink. This technique signifies my grandmother’s invisible “blue collar” labor, while simultaneously creating a physical “impression” of her work into every card. The artwork begins in 1939—the year of my grandparents’ marriage—and ends in August 2006, the date of my grandfather’s death. And to pay homage to my grandmother’s labor, I hand cut and cranked all 813 cards through a Vandercook letterpress printing press.
Natural and synthetic hair, faux fur, bling stickers, clothing, shoes, Behr paint samples.
While living in an economically depressed area in San Francisco, CA called the Tenderloin, I was misidentified as homeless twice, and on a third occasion mislabeled a drug dealer. To those who stereotyped me, it was the nap of my hair (specifically my dreadlocks) and the dark hue of my skin that signified me as always already homeless. It didn’t matter that I wore fashionable and expensive garments. However—and even while wearing ratty workout gear—a white woman with pale skin and a blond ponytail is always called a tourist. To enhance the concept evoked by the contrasts in clothing, I embroidered the word “HOMELESS” using Afro Kinky Braid synthetic hair into a hand-made fur vest. The word “TOURIST” is spelled out on the shabby, black sweat jacket using faux bling and blond synthetic hair pulled into a ponytail representing the “O.”
Felt, cotton, white embroidery thread.
3” x various lengths
This installation encompasses seven “treebands” wrapped around thick-barked trees situated along the Rivanna River (aka “Jefferson’s River”) in Charlottesville, VA. These felt bands document a few of the many enslaved humans at Monticello—the third President’s home and working plantation. Each person’s name, birthdate, and occupation are embroidered into an individual length of fabric. Reminiscent of traditional armbands, these physical reminders memorialize those forgotten and invisible laborers who produced goods transported down the Rivanna, or watermen who worked beside its banks, or stone masons whose extant markings exist at dams along various points of the waterway.
Framed and captioned photocopies, hand-cut vinyl letters.
12x18” each (framed size)
The obelisk is an ancient and enduring symbol of Rome’s conquest over Egypt; for example, eight ancient Egyptian obelisks currently reside in prominent locations throughout the Italian capital. Interpreting the obelisk as an emblem of power, supremacy, and domination, I discovered that many Confederate war memorials throughout the US utilize the obelisk as their main if not only design feature. As a result, I chose to visualize the word OBELISK as the foreground to nine, southern-situated Confederate monuments from both a literal and figurative perspective. By replicating the final letter in the word, the meaning of the work was extended—the series of three K’s evokes the white supremacy group that historically and currently aspires to conquer the disenfranchised and promote systems of conquest over opportunity, freedom, and equality.
Legion Stonehenge black paper, black ink, white ink, extra fine black glitter.
The word constellation is defined as a “group or configuration of ideas, feelings, characteristics, objects, etc., that are related in some way.” These silkscreen prints represent related ideas and examples of accounts of invisibility, hypervisibility, devaluation, and triumph experienced as a Black woman in America. Using the concept of the Language of Invisibility on Display artwork as their foundation, these prints also present black text on a black background, while strategically rendering particular words in white to telegraph subliminal yet compelling messages when read over multiple panels.
Framed photographs and interpretive text panel.
12x18” each (framed size)
As a socially conscious visual artist, my response to the current anti-Black, racist, socio-political moment in America comes in the form of an artwork prompted by the heinous murder of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman violated in her own home. I enlisted seven friends to join me in modeling face masks—a staple of safety during the current Covid-19 viral pandemic. Each mask illustrates a phrase that responds to a few of the many inequities residing in the American society: racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia. While covering the mouth, the mask simultaneously enhances the eyes, which intensify the message each subject delivers. This project provides voice to eight women who critique and visually verbalize their individual response to the systemic injustices enacted upon women in America.