This golf-and-race-inspired-work seeks to re-examine pre-and-post-civil-rights-era-generational priorities. I also wish to address the tensions and expectations that can exist between personal, cultural, and ethnic aspects of the identity. The golf bag shape is symbolic of the human torso.
This exhibition represented the first time that 18 golf bags were displayed in a fine art gallery as fine art objects. The 'Baggage' exhibition took place at Russell Projects in Richmond, Va. in 2010.
About the creative process:
The process I use to create these pieces, specifically the Bags, is called Decoupage (or découpage). It is the art of decorating an object (a found object vintage-style Golf bag) by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it (I use an archival, non-yellowing gel medium as the adhesive). These cutout are the result of numerous internet searches that are then arranged and composed in photoshop so as to create a visual dialogue and common contextual 'DNA' between the various images. Each layer is sealed with multiple coats of an acrylic varnish until the "stuck on" appearance disappears and the result looks like painting or inlay work. The traditional technique used 30-40 layers of varnish which were then sanded to a polished finish. This was known in 18th century England as The Art of Japanning after its presumed origins. In my work there is no sanding. The varnished layers number into 20-40 and over the course of making the bag the varnish takes on a 'Patina' made from the slow 'borrowing' of pigment from each new and prior layer of imagery. These numerous layers act as a glaze on the surface and react to the light by warming the over-all appearance of the final layer. There is no sanding involved. That said, as a traditionally trained painter I consider what I do, the process I use to make these objects, to be painting without paint. Using "found" digital pigments and recycled and re-appropriated jpeg imagery from very specific and sometimes random internet searches, I build my surfaces in much the same as built the surface of my early paintings. After giving substantial consideration to the structure of the object, as a painter, it is impossible for me to not act as a painter in the creation of the surfaces. As a result, the bags have the 'feel' of a painting.