“White Fragility” ink and acrylic paint on paper 30” H x 22” W, 2022, $600.00
I approach my observations of human behavior through a trained sociological lens, utilizing both ethnographic and quantitative analysis, and I approach my artwork similarly, straddling a line between realistically rendered metaphor and abstract data visualization. There is a push-pull, that I am constantly massaging in my work, between structure and fluidity, between realism and abstraction, between movement and stability. These dichotomies exist within me and I see them reflected in the world around me in the ways in which we try to contain and categorize a vast array of humans (with different stories, behaviors, needs and desires) into delineated systems.
My work is anchored in process as a pathway to abstraction. A gridded system (stripes, quilts, architecture, order) serves as a rigid scaffold for the movement of the organic as I employ a playful practice of experimenting with the connection of sets of tiles in two-dimensional ‘puzzles’. The various ‘puzzles’, created and conceived in the studio in the tradition of Wang dominoes and Tesselata, are engaged through aleatoric games that follow prescribed rules. The prescribed rules of the games are inspired by human behavior and can be random, mathematical, metaphorical, or fact-based (often drawn from statistics or sociological theory). The results of these games and puzzles become the basis for larger drawings, paintings, prints and interactive games.
In “White Fragility”, I used data on percentages of white Americans who believe that they have been personally discriminated against because they are white to determine the placement of stronger or more fragile pieces of lace in a grid. The full squares of lace indicate white Americans who do not believe that they are discriminated against (45%). Rectangular half-grid sections of lace represent white Americans who believe that they are discriminated against but don’t have a specific example of a moment when this happened (12%). Grid squares with varying yellow dots behind the lace are as follows: Convex corners represent the 19% of white Americans who believe they are discriminated against in pay equity and when applying for promotions, concave corners represent the 11% who believe they were discriminated against when applying to college, and curved lace ribbons represent the 13% of white Americans who believe they are discriminated against when applying for jobs. The natural fragility of the lace, the history of lace as a class symbol, and the addition of yellow, a paranoid color, all call out the absurdity and irrelevance of these claims and the damage claims like these do to the general fabric of society.