"I use paint, ink and canvas, paper and other surfaces to visualize that which remains after my body moves to the sound of the music and of praise, to more fully consider residue—lingering—that escapes capture.”
Learning about life and love in the spiritual space of Blackpentecostalism, I was able to sense the world by paying attention to how my flesh felt. We sang songs loudly. We shouted hard. We spoke in tongues. The flesh was the conduit through which praise and worship happened. But the flesh was also a site to control, a site that was always available to sinfulness. The doctrine about queerness as beyond the scope of possible joy and holiness is a doctrine I had to reconcile and eventually contest.
For my visual arts practice, I use choreography to paint, hand clapping to splatter. I use voice to sing and make music. I listen to recorded church services, clap and dance and play the tambourine to the rhythm of the sounds and music with paint on my hands or feet. I use paint, ink and canvas, paper and other surfaces to visualize that which remains after my body moves to the sound of the music and of praise, to more fully consider residue—lingering—that escapes capture. My art practice lets me think about the ways the religious, as a conceptual domain and field of thought, has sequestered particular kinds of meditative, transformative, collective modes of existence, reflection, behavior. With audiovisual practices, I have occasion to think about hiddenness, about the practice of composing and constructing, of putting ideas and concepts and colors and sounds together—and taking them apart.
When she was alive, Nancy Ambrose, grandmother of mystic thinker Howard Thurman, vowed that if she ever became literate, she would refuse to read biblical passages by Saint Paul because his words were used against enslaved people. Though illiterate, she created her own canon, and engaged in critical reading practices of the text. She made art, practiced otherwise possibility, by engaging critical erasure, contending with the architecture of racist thought. She unsettled scripture, made it contingent. My work is an attempt toward a similar kind of process, a similar kind of thinking, using texture and color and choreography and voice. I attempt to honor traditions of my emergence while thinking and feeling with and against it. Whether writing, sound performance, visual art, augmented reality, light sculpture, or action painting, the work is about exploring versions of the same, the same with difference, otherwise possibility.