The scope of my work explores episodes of working-class life and culture in America’s rural South through the lens of my own family and friends in the Midlands of South Carolina through both history and storytelling. The ever-evolving notions and characteristics of rural culture in the American South are imbedded in the traces and residue of human touch framed through the still life and souvenir as collections. By painting these accounts, I celebrate, honor, and show reverence towards the customs and traditions of the rural working-class South. Viewing painting as souvenir, the work spans past and present tenses while also questioning the future, thereby fully engaging with the contemporary world.
I use photography to catalogue specific moments indicative of my Southern experience, which then evolve from reference points into physical paintings. With paint, touch becomes active and unique in its ability to describe objects whereas a photograph leaves its surfaces uniform and polished. Painting’s physicality is referential to the human mind allowing elements of memory, mystery, and doubt to materialize.
I address the erasure gap between two cultures by asserting the importance of the rural within an urban context. Adding to the conversation of contemporary art I utilize my agency as both insider to the rural South, and outsider as a visual artist. These paintings are ultimately an endeavor to generate and archive a selection of personal memories, anecdotes, and experiences that others might not have ever seen or remembered if they were never replicated.