In The Water You Become
GrayDUCK Gallery, Jan. 2023
In the water you become anonymous, suspended in an unfeeling substance. In the water, you are at its mercy, just the same as everyone else. In the water, it is black, too deep and dark to see. It is hard to stay calm as you propel yourself over unknown depths and dangers, your face submerged and your breath held.
Your held breath both calms and scares you. The water touches you and holds you. The water touches you and weighs on you, your body dissolving. Seen from above or below it is hard to tell who you are, face, hair, and skin obscured by the mass of individual droplets. The water reflects the light, rendering you iridescent, golden, simultaneously too dark and too bright to see. You disappear, like some aquatic creature, into the water.
In The Water You Become exhibits traces left behind by my body— silhouettes, records of movements made while swimming, a doubling of myself in a painting. These drawings and paintings render my body legible: the exact contours of my frame have been traced onto the material. However, I am strangely anonymous, my face, skin color, and other identifying characteristics obscured. In the video work, my physical body is more fully present as I swim back and forth, dragging and sinking paintings of my own body.
The large scale of the work imbues my body’s outlines with a mystical power. The reductive shapes of my body form an imposing collection, body after body confronting the viewer. Suspended in watery worlds, the drawings of my body evoke a deity, floating between life and death. Water, in the form of natural lakes, pools, and even imagination, serves as a uniting element throughout all the works. It connects ideas of reflection and suspension, life and death, that tie us all together.