Painting from my collection of thrifted and inherited items, I explore my connection to the lives lived around these objects and question my position in relation to their previous owners. Since my mother’s side of the family have all passed away, the stories behind the objects are lost to me. The line “blood seem like strangers, strangers like family” from Deb Talen’s song titled Thinking Amelia resonates when looking at my mix of objects. The stories written on their surfaces are in a language I cannot read.
Working from photographs I have taken of the objects, I paint them in blue oil paint, floating on a white background employing a method of outlining, building up and wiping away which teases the subject into existence, creating ghosts which dwell between the surface and ground of the painting. Like a palimpsest, I rub out and re-etch the lines of the objects, leaving traces of my previous marks, illegible echoes and outlines.
Presenting these objects as a collection, I think of the use of curiosity cabinets as a means of presenting a story of myself. My work is also in conversation with artist Faye Ballard, who made drawings of objects found in her family home after the death of her father. I use only a single color, indanthrone blue, as a way to link these objects together into one collection. The blue and white recalls decorative china and spurs in me a frenzied desire to gather, preserve and display; a fervor for accumulation I conceivably inherited from the very people whose possessions I have appropriated into my own archive of objects and memories.