Dear Nathanial: a series of portraits, obscured
“And what’s in a face, anyhow, except the uncomplicated story of a man? What’s in a face that makes it the nail on which we hang our ideas about people?” (Rick Moody, The Black Veil, 6)
My work speaks to themes of uncertainty, tension and unease that come with being uprooted, confronting borderlines, and questioning your place in the world. In my illustrations, I focus on androgynous figures because of their position – they fit anywhere and nowhere. They are shrouded in mystery and ambiguity. So much of our understanding of others hinges on the face and the gesture; however, I am interested in what we do not know, what is hidden.
This body of work is inspired by Nathanial Hawthorne’s short story entitled “The Minister’s Black Veil”; his writing investigates a minister whose dark, inner struggles have materialized in a black veil. It becomes a symbolic reminder of the darkness within everyone. In this series of graphite portraits, I am interested in exploring the contrast between light, fragile lace and the gravity of darkness. Figures are concealed in black lace, which is worn like fleeting shadows or permanent tattoos. Usually worn at funerals, black lace is a symbol of death, mourning, and sorrow. There is mystery created by the concealment; the lace is a fence that prevents outsiders from entering. These faces are obscured, ambiguous, but they may yet be known.
Thank you to Juno Youn for adding me to his roster of artists for the Flying Rooster Contemporary Projects. I've submitted my text and images for the website. All of these drawings will be available for purchase here... soon!