My main tactic as an art maker is the comparison and conflation of methods and materials commonly associated with painting with those that most often fall under the category of craft or fiber practices. This is a move to try and interrogate the power dynamics between the two categories and put their somewhat separate (but intertwined) historical developments to work together conceptually.
Having studied painting academically without ever separating my painting practice from my love of fiber craft and materiality, I make pieces that tend to characterize themselves as a series of crafted works that are self-consciously trying out painting—or investigating the nature of painting in relationship to craft in their own vocabulary and skill set. To do this, I approach the object of a painting like a craftsperson, looking at its material components, namely the support structure (a stretcher, either made by the artist or purchased from a workshop) and the surface (a textile, usually commercially manufactured) as opportunities for making rather than as a given starting point. Crafting support structures from minor or domestic materials and weaving or using found/ unconventional surface textiles, I’m interested in ways of complicating the construction and function of these basic elements of painting and bringing their materiality to the forefront of the work. This results in objects that at once defy and exacerbate the split between craft and art, and which are unable to settle into a fixed position in relation to either side, alerting insecurities and discomforts that lie between the two.
As one of my most reoccurring materials, beadwork has been highly significant to my interest in the instability of divisive lines between different categories of artmaking. The history of beads and beadwork is heavy with instances of transformation, contradiction, and transition. Linked with histories of colonialism, femininity, labor, costume, and craft, beads upset dynamics of power, identity, value, and taste. They slide in and out of positive and negative associations, simultaneously cheapening and elevating, acting as both critical signifiers and rebellious agents of play.
This constant slippage and transformational tendency of beads allows for works that are ambiguous in their relationship to their own form, they alternate between hesitantly accepting and defiantly evading their proximity to painting, and various arts and crafts. Wandering along (and between) multiple lines of possibility, they enact non-fixity without denying or ducking material specificity. The contradictory, multiple messaging of beads has thus served as a major guiding path for my work to exasperate categorical boundaries in the way we evaluate art.