My homebody series began as an offering of gratitude: overcome by the feeling of safety in that intimate moment, I wanted to thank my loved one with a remembrance of what made my heart set aflame. By taking a photo, I’m able to hold onto the moment for longer, and in the paint is an opportunity to contemplate its significance to my life. The subjects’ interaction with its surface began out of need, as a means of painting without having to pay for wood panels I couldn’t afford. Building a home with things others have left behind is an innate practice instilled by my family, who, coming to this country with very little, needed to be resourceful. I hadn’t noticed immediately, but through the paint, I began to do the very same building through this body of work. Altar-like, they are evidences of devotion: pleas for each moment’s love everlasting. Each piece frames itself, making tangible the space they take up in their rest. The work engages with the notion of rest as resistance: prioritizing the nurturing when the systems we live under beg us toward overextension. The works rely on each other, and are never meant to be alone — they build a safe space with each other that, in their communion, sets forth a protective precedent regarding their perception. There will always be intimacy held within the pieces, but one must intentionally engage — become intimate — with the object for it to reveal itself. The viewer is acknowledged as an integral part of the work of art: raising us from mere observer to essential to the piece’s intention. Building and navigating community care is the cardinal priority, so homebody is significant as an installation that is arranged for viewers to sit and rest with both the work and each other. The ritos paintings began as an inquiry; noticing in the photo albums that, once women in my family became mothers, they are repeatedly photographed either staring at the image-taker without expression or with their attention to a child. I came to understand the work as a sort of anthropological investigation — wondering about the hardships in their lives untold, the generational traumas inherited — and how these experiences affected them and, subsequently, that which they impart upon me. The paintings are a way of making space and holding empathy for those vulnerabilities unshared, but felt in their gazes. The interaction between their past and my present is hinted at in some of the work: through the golden scrapbook glue stripes in mamá, pegado, and in the rendering of my thumb in the lower left corner of mamí; the works are a physical and emotional interaction with what I’ve inherited, and an attempt to bridge that foggy gap between their history and my present. For this series, the surfaces are prepared specifically for the paintings. The act of preparing someone for what they will experience in this life is the work of the family, so in that act of preparation is an echo of the subject matter. The painting is mapped out by a charcoal structure sealed to the surface before it is painted into. I was deeply interested in honoring and working with the linen’s naturality, shaping its color into the basis of the figures’ form. The process slows down immensely in these works, and is a lot more controlled by the fixed charcoal structure — movement of the arm becomes more restricted, more tentative. Each glaze reveals itself subtly while submerging into and supporting its surroundings. In this series, the works frame and are contextualized by each other: thinking both about feminine camaraderie under a patriarchal framework and the martyrdom of a woman unexpressed. A gaze, or lack thereof, is inherently a response — one’s level of attentiveness and the space they take up are gauges of safety. Lushly colored headboards and bedside tables assert themselves, physically, in their rest: filling a space; though, linen paintings: stretched and hung traditionally, cling to the wall, receding watchfully, protectively. Space is made, in my work, for the internal experience as a response to its external, and how that manifests when safety is questioned or assured. The paintings are never alone, they are meant to see — and be seen — with each other. The spaces in which the works are presented are tailored to make space for rest, or keep one alert, in line with the very sentiments of the paintings. All of my work is interested in questioning and finding better practices of sustainability, both emotionally and physically. The objects that I work with have been disposed of, with evidence of wear, despite their function. Reclaiming that object as a readymade and weaving my moments into it are an assertion against treating that which surrounds us frivolously. Reaching into the traditions of paining provided an avenue to examine the unsustainable emotional traditions of my family. These processes were never intended upon opposing each other, they simply came to be that way, and each speak distinctly of my relationships to their subjects. The painting between the earth of the future and the sky of the past: with joy is a mediation between the two series: it is a painting of my younger brother on a cabinet door, indicating through the surface that I have chosen him, but with his back towards me, being unsure if he has chosen me. Creating work about both styles of relationships offers me the opportunity to contend with parting from old frameworks of intimacy and developing new ones while continually engaging with the sources of each.