Cameo Ground (Children of Paradise)
porcelain, velvet light boxes 2018
(Documentation, Lawndale Art Center CORE Show 2018)
Full installation also shown at: Visual Arts Center of Richmond (2020); Galleri Opdahl, Norway (2021); Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans (2022)
This work explores the idea of legibility on multiple levels—the social legibility of the passing subject, the way we read one another, and our ability to comprehend language. The text is borrowed from an interview with my great aunt Jane (the youngest daughter of Paradise); in it, she describes which of her 12 siblings could pass as white and categorizes everyone based on their shade in relation to her own skin tone. Because we are not given an image of Jane, her words become relative to an unknown. The process includes laser-cutting text into paper, coating the paper with porcelain slip, and firing the coated paper. During the firing process, the paper burns away and creates an extremely fragile porcelain shell. Fissures and cracks appear, forming river-like gaps, and the text moves in and out of legibility.
Listen to an excerpt from my conversation with Jane below.