Oil on Canvas
76 cm x 102 cm
This painting is part of a larger body of work exploring themes of fertility, reproduction, pregnancy, women's health, and motherhood. Under the working title Barren, I have begun a series of oil paintings that aim to challenge traditional depictions of motherhood as they present in Western art and oil painting. This work, UNBORN, stems from my personal experience with my first pregnancy, which ended in a miscarriage.
The multifaceted complexities of the female experience of motherhood has historically been reduced to an easily-digestible dichotomy of the 'sacred mother' or the 'grieving mother'. On one hand, we have motherhood in all of its unattainable and fictional perfection - absolute love, devotion, comfort, and ease; the 'sacred mother' lives completely for her child and embodies all things feminine and nurturing. On the other hand, there are the depictions of the 'grieving mother', clinging to her dead child, lost in grief to the point of insanity - an allegory for the darkness and evil of life/war/men, a one-dimensional symbol for all things abhorrent. Neither extreme portrays the true story of motherhood, and have been often produced by men as a reflection of their own interpretations and desires for a fundamental human reality they can not experience firsthand.
My work takes its cues from surrealist and symbolists aesthetics to create a spectral dream-scape in which the joy, pain, disappointment, heartbreak, pride, exhilaration and devastations of motherhood can be untangled and made tangible. I am using AI image generating software to develop my composition, and purposely choosing to include the artifacts and inclusions created by the tool, as a painter would use visible brushstrokes as a fundamental element of their design.
Maximo in Cienfuegos
Oil on Canvas
56 cm x 100 cm
Oil on Canvas
61 cm x 91.5 cm
On my Cityscapes:
These are the places I lived, loved, slept, played, cried, learned and lost in.
They shaped me, and I, in turn, try to give form to their hidden personalities. I look for the sweet whimsy and colour in straight lines and concrete.
This is what I saw.
This what I carry with me.
This is what I remember.
If I went back tomorrow, these places, those moments would be long gone.
Who’s to say they ever existed at all?
Eye witness accounts are the least reliable form of evidence.
There are no facts, only interpretations.
A beloved restaurant, a city block that feels like home, a passing glance along a oft-traveled bus route, a neglected graveyard found on a solitary wander, the play of light on asphalt, a sacred God-filled mountain, a bridge between boroughs: these are my imaginary memories.
Mixed media on paper
47 cm x 61 cm
2020 lockdown: day 55
Oil on canvas
91 cm x 117 cm
The Covid-19 pandemic transformed almost every aspect of my life. How, where, and why I live began to transform inexorably on March 15, 2020, with the announcement of the Toronto Covid lockdown. Toronto’s Covid-19 declared state of emergency was one of the longest lockdowns in the world, lasting 777 days. If the person that I was on March 14, 2020 could stand and face the person I am now, only 3 years later, she would be baffled and amazed. Some indispensable things were lost, while some were gained. The changes that buffeted my course over the past three years mercilessly proclaimed the inevitable truth that the illusion of control over one’s own life is as fleeting and incorporeal as a half-heard knell at dawn.
In this painting, I have illustrated a moment in time that captures the energy and sentiment of my lowest point during the lockdown. My husband, energetic three-year old son, dog, and I were trapped in an ever-shrinking, junior 2-bedroom apartment in East-end Toronto. Originally built for returning veterans and their families in 1947, our apartment building was a crumbling cave of brick and cement, with foot-thick walls and red-hot iron radiators. All the public parks were closed and fenced with plastic yellow police tape, but we weren’t venturing outside anyway. My three-year-old’s face was covered with little blue and brown bruises from accidentally running face-first into our unforgiving brick walls.
Standing in the liminal space of the doorway between our tiny kitchen and our tiny living room, trying to fit his shackled self into a home far too small for the four of us, my husband gazes at me apathetically. Normally coiffed and trim, he wears an unplanned afro like a halo. The spring jacket and child’s hat hang at the front door, clean and unused. The frame of the doorway, the limits of the canvas, awkwardly cut him off at the knees, showing his inevitable immobility. He loosely grips a fork in his only shown limb in an unconscious display of weak domestic hostility. We were trapped, and it felt like it would never end. Of course, it did end; change inevitably comes, but on that day, at that moment, we existed for eternity in our sterile prison, the future unknown and all our hopes and plans dead around us.