Hate you Love Me
Layered photo paper with digital drawing and painting
87.5 x 125 cm
Available in the following sizes: 8” X 10” - Approx - 20.3 X 25.4 cms 17 X 22” - Approx 43.2 X 52.9 cms 24 X 36 - Approx 61 X 91.4 cms 30” X 40” - Approx 76 X 101.6 cms The Sum of Us Last year, when my brother went off the rails, lost his New York apartment, and wound-up living on the street, I found myself pouring over old family photos, as if I might find early signs of his mental illness there. Maybe I thought the pictures would trigger buried memories and lead to a deeper understanding of him. But the old photographs didn’t evoke what I’d hoped they would. They needed something more to express what I felt. Around this time, I’d been shooting abstract images of surfaces I found on the street, something like the urban abstractions that Aaron Siskind made in the 40’s and 50’s. There was a power, an emotion even, in my close-ups of peeling posters, squashed greasy paper bags, crazed scrawl on soaped glass, grime caked on dripped paint, jagged scars of text. Though abstract, this visceral messiness said something to me about impermanence and the mutability of time. Without quite understanding what I was doing, I began layering my street abstractions with family photos, some old and some recent. I inhabited the settings of family photos with these visceral textures. They became part of the environment. They settled into our clothes and streaked across our skin and hair, a patina of time, a metaphor for mortality. As memory and emotion were mashed with imagination, stories took shape and the project spread beyond my brother. Enfolding the family, it traced identity across generations back to my mother’s estranged father who disappeared when she was a child and started a new family in a distant town. This man I never met appears dimly outlined in layers beneath my brother, their faces overlapping as they become one another. My grandfather’s ripples project out to my mother’s fear of abandonment, and to my own bumpy, disjointed childhood which I observed from a distance with glazed eyes and an open mouth. In The Sum of Us, time isn’t linear. It’s experienced in co-existing layers. Artist Tala Madani describes her work as being “excavated from her psyche” which resonates with me and my process. Creating these visual meditations is a means of reckoning with who we are, where we come from, and how we connect across time.