Artist Statement for Portrait Paintings

We certainly wish a lot of our memories would last forever. However, as soon as the moment is over, the memory we hold starts its decline. Little by little and day by day it loses clarity; and sometimes, given the right circumstance, it vanishes completely. Memories seem so vivid and clear when they first happen, much like a well-rendered drawing or painting, but as time progresses they seem to lose clarity. We struggle with details and the ability to retain information is governed, in part, by the length of time since that moment.

In this series of work I overlap the original images of people I personally know with acetate covered with black media to diminish certain aspects of the image and replicate the loss of memories. These layers represent a form of resistance to the original image and the process shows an accumulating effect in how we lose our memories. As more time passes, the more the preliminary image gets overlapped and pushed back by consecutive layers, leaving only an impression or notion of the original content. In essence, each successive layer of acetate simply becomes another barrier to the original image, much in the same way the passing of time is another obstruction to the initial memory we held. As each successive layer is added, the distance between subject and viewer grows and the process itself becomes the subject of the work. The initial image becomes a victim of the process, much in the same way memories become a casualty of time.

The memories most resistant to this process are the ones that start off the most crisp and contrasting. If we start with a vague memory or incomplete knowledge of a person, the layers only seem to obliterate the image faster. After only a couple of layers they become harder to distinguish and the edges and contours within the image become blurred. Even in the most recessed images we know someone is there but can no longer make out the details. Through this process, the original subject gets pushed back and what isn’t there becomes the new subject. The absence fills the space and creates a void in which we can’t quite remember or see what was originally there, much like our fading memories.

IMG_0177B (3)