My printmaking work depicts themes of immigrant displacement through representations of the landscape. My personal experience as an immigrant acts as a lens through which I aim to create poetic works that question the delineation of land and the physical and psychological effects that manifest when crossing borders. Research of the history of landscape art, immigrant psychology, and border theory, has provided a deeper insight into my own social and cultural dualities as an immigrant, and equipped me with a unique way of analyzing “border art” that appeared during the late 1980’s when the militarization of the border began. My artistic approach rejects propaganda based narratives, and instead employs nuanced aesthetic means that consider the landscape as a metaphor for addressing displacement, alienation, and nostalgia. The resulting narratives are a unique juxtaposition of past and present; real and imagined.
Traditionally in the history of landscape art, the “picturesque” refers to an idealized view of the land through the human perspective. To further understand border landscapes, I took a fieldworks trip across the southern U.S./Mexico Border. This trip allowed me to bridge the gap between my border crossing journey and current border issues at large. With this research, I’ve used printmaking to create charted landscapes that allude to the border’s subtle presence of people, yet remain devoid of figurative representation. There is an awareness of place and memory, and a subtle notion of passage. Fields of open land, symbolizing possibility, are scarred by walls, fences, and the imposing presence of the manmade. Through this lens the landscape reemerges, “picturesque”, but scarred, nostalgic, and desolate; a projection of the immigrant experience.
I have focused my printmaking practice on the singular print, particularly explorations using monotypes. I am not interested in printmaking for its means of multiplicity, but rather as a tool to extract subtle nuances that occur during the translation from plate to paper. Recently I have delved into time based works and experimentations with stop motion videos. This unconventional approach to printmaking, along with my rejection of propaganda based works, yields a highly unique way of filtering the immigrant voice. Yet, there is something innately connective about these works and they are capable of bridging opposite sides, creating positive discourse, and expressing our most basic human desire to belong.