Abstraction is a CIA Operation

The two newest series of completed artworks are titled Abstraction is a CIA Operation and A Series of Cleansing Rituals. Their material origins lie in the purposefully fragmented remains of previously completed artworks, The More Lavish the Decoration, The More It Followed a Script About Power and Like Trompe l’oeil, The Solid Vanished into a Wafer of Nothing, respectively. The recycling of previous artworks into new artworks is an abnegation of the traditional art history trajectory of completed artworks as finished and unchanging, while also being a material exercise of the fractal colonialism my research has led me to discover and explore through my art practice. Ultimately, this led to understanding its connections to the generational trauma that is present in my family history. For example, in Abstraction is a CIA Operation, I decided to break down a previously completed artwork titled Like Trompe l’oeil, The Solid Vanished into a Wafer of Nothing, by using a circular saw to ritualistically tear it apart into fragments. Conceptually, I was interested in making a new set of artworks that would be cobbled together from old artworks. This formal decision grew out of a desire to question the need to begin a new artwork with a blank slate or a blank canvas, while also halting the traditional trajectory of finished artwork, and sculpturally translating and communicating the concept of fractal colonialism. Abstraction is a CIA Operation also borrows from the rich history of collage present in Dadaism. My application of it is both sculptural and painterly.

Thus, the breaking, tearing, splintering, and shattering that I have employed in previous artworks has now become an integral step in my creative process. Collage has a rich history of being used by artists who “were critical of the dominant social structures and political strategies”. And I believe it’s a tool for criticality that I can employ to communicate the fractal colonialism I have experienced in my own life. Abstraction is a CIA Operation was created by my embrace of chance, accident, and improvisation. In my own life, I am acquainted with the power of such an embrace because of my years as a jazz musician. The formal qualities of this artwork such as the layering, stacking, and fissures were the result of the improvisational spirit in which I approached this new set of artworks. I acted. And then I responded.