I have always defined drawing as making marks on a surface, which leaves the door open for what is a mark and what is a drawing surface. In my case, I have chosen to work on old 'found paper' documents with many of these being more than 100 years old. I inherit a history of mark-making circumstance on these documents in regards to stains, tears, smudges, folds, color of paper, design elements, stamps, gesture, and a narrative, just to name a few. It is a vocabulary of preordained aesthetics that I must react to, develop a relationship with, choose to enhance, delete, adopt, or obliterate, while imposing new layers from my own time and interval of space. In a sense, the drawing becomes a metaphor for how we deal with our past, and our collective history and whether we choose to ignore, change, or embellish it, which can bring its more important components into the contemporary light of day.
When my personal history as a 21st century artist is added to a 150 year old piece of paper, it transforms the context of the page from a minor historical record into a contemporary and self-expressive work of art. This metamorphosis underscores the social purposes these documents served years ago in both time and place, which are no longer tangible; yet an element of their respective histories still remains. Each document becomes a foundation for the new work that pays homage to its history and, at the same time, breathes life into the paint that now embosses it with a new layer, adding to the original composition. That retrieval from history is intended to portray a remembrance of our lost and forgotten identities.
My own additions bear a reverence for these changes, which subsequently gives shape to the present, and simultaneously differentiates and joins 'then and now'.
Merriam-Webster defines the term, redact, as: "to select or adapt (as by obscuring or removing sensitive information) for publication or release; to obscure or remove (text) from a document prior to publication or release."
While redactions have, in a sense, always been part of my work (i.e., adding marks to a previously existing document naturally obscures some of the content), it is only recently that redaction, as its own concept, became the focus of my drawing. As the political landscape becomes ever more obscure and documents released to the public are essentially large black boxes, I have begun to respond to not only the lack of transparency on the part of political actors in their dissemination of information, but to the obscuring, or even obliterating, of ideas, people, and cultures. Over the course of history, various ethnic and cultural groups have been marginalized; institutionalized racism persists; China is "re-educating" the Uighurs; anti-Semitism is growing; the list goes on. In addition, the dishonesty in the political sphere, from misrepresentation to outright lies repeated over and over, are aimed at creating dueling narratives, none of which can be viewed as ultimately truthful.
In a minimalist manner, the works are a series of black shapes, some mere lines, and others, large blocks in addition to what appears to be pieces of tape (also paint); thus, redactions and lies. As a progression from my earlier work, rather than the act of creating a 'new' image, this series deliberately removes aspects of the paper from view, thus, highlighting that which we cannot see as a means for consideration of all that is kept from us, what we do not understand, or what we refuse to acknowledge in our own personal narratives and that of the world at large.