I use a narrative of social engagement to generate discussion. My images subtly arouse concern with visual prods into issues related to class, immigration, gun control, and ecology.
I was born and raised, through my teenaged years, in New Orleans. It framed my vision of life. It was and continues to be a place of extremes: beauty and decay, religion and ritual, custom and iconoclasm. From that experience I acquired an excitement for visual matters: colors, forms and even artifacts. Having lived on the border with Mexico for ten years changed my view of contemporary culture and our collective social responsibility. As a result, the expression of my imagery has become more topical.
At the time of the “9/11” bombing of the Twin Towers, NYC, my sojourn as a professor at the University of Texas in Brownsville on the Mexican border changed me. As an artist, I was carving elegant sculptures that ruminated on the cycles of nature. This transcendent vision of my life experience seemed somewhat narcissistic given the ambient drug wars, the desperation of immigrants, and the collapsing Mexican democracy due to endemic political corruption. Viewing these topical issues and seeing the curious lack of commitment for dialogue to offer solutions for the growing racial division, wealth inequality, and environmental decline in my own nation, I changed my insular focus of my art. I began to use toys with which I developed a series of sculptures that poignantly comment on adult concerns in the guise of ironic constructions of found playthings. To me, toys are abstractions of grown-up possessions, professions, or spaces, which are to provide children role models. Collage and assemblage synthesize the imagery.
I want my work to stimulate dialogue and awareness of contemporary critical issues.