Earlier this year, I started incorporating written text within the layers of my work. The paintings often start out with pours and drips, and I write with oil stick after the first couple layers. The words are both in English and Spanish and interchange from word to word and sentence to sentence. I grew up in a family environment where English was the primary language at home, but at large family gatherings Spanish was spoken. I have a limited ability to speak Spanish, and there are still some awkward moments with extended family members who don't speak English.
The words I write in the layers tell stories, label, and describe emotions related to the imagery in the painting. Switching languages, confronts the process of translation. By repeating the same word such as "Ojo, Eye" written over the eye of a portrait, I suggest that perspective can be filtered through language. The use of this kind of written narrative suggests my mixed identity, and the complexity of meaning in language.
|Detail from Ojo in Cuarto|
|Ojo in Cuarto, 48x36in, oil on canvas|