Other Emphatic Caprices


“To paint, to write, to teach in the most dedicated sincere way is the most intimate affirmation of creative life we possess in these despairing years.” – Philip Guston

“Other Emphatic Caprices” (a title borrowed from Goya’s “Disasters of War”) are photography-based abstractions actively protesting and cursing the anti-humanist realities surging through the United States. Using appropriated news footage — drought ravaged land, physical clashes with riot police, white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, murdered wild animal carcasses left on the side of a road, and men convicted of date rape — I create digital negatives before going into the darkroom to draw with light and and mis-applied chemicals to collapse the pictures into objects of anger, frustration, helplessness… and complicity.

That’s right, complicity. It is extremely unlikely a police officer will ever kneel on my white neck, let alone do so long enough to kill me. My taxes pay for armaments killing people across the globe. If I were to be convicted of a crime, evidence suggests I would likely receive a light sentence to go with my light skin. I could choose to march in a violent, racist rally and be called “good people” by a sitting President of the United States. All of this alternately infuriates and depresses me and, though it is not the only action I’m taking, I am led to dissent in the manner to which I am most suited – by making visual art.  

These pieces are not rational or objective documents of the fucked-up incidents roiling this era. Rather, I approach each unique piece with some degree of ritual—gathering pictures, creating the negatives, taking these awful scenes into the darkroom, aiming light, and anointing with chemicals to intentionally manifest objects meant to seize at least a small part of these vile realities, as if I could excise them from the world. 

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