This is a detail from mural created as part of the O+ festival, in which artists used wheat-pasted art to draw attention to issues of health care and of the body. I wheat-pasted paper cut-outs to a cement block wall in uptown Kingston, NY.
The white-on-black walls series includes both small gouache paintings on black paper and wall-scale oil-stick works on black-gessoed canvas. The first of the series of small gouache paintings, Whitewash, is my response to the lyrics to a song by Berthold Brecht, Song of the Whitewash: Look, theres another unpleasant stain on the wall . So its whitewash we need to keep things covered up until a later date . In my day job as a court interpreter, I was seeing a lot of the ugly cracks hidden from the public, and the image intrigued me. I began to paint the bare bones (sometimes literally) of walls, in gouache on black paper, which I then cover with my own white gouache and watercolor whitewash.
It was as that interest developed that I began to build much larger walls of overlapping figures, and of their absence, using oil stick to outline paper masks and stencils that I tape temporarily to the canvas. As I use and re-use the paper silhouettes, they become torn and mutilated. When I had an opportunity to install my paper figures on a "real" wall, I made this mural.
My work as an interpreter has also influenced my work in more direct ways. I have recently finished production of a handmade artists book, with an edition of fifty copies, in which I examine issues of immigration and of incarceration, telling stories of immigrants and their experiences with the US criminal justice system.