You Are Here
In the history of landscape art, the “picturesque” refers to an idealized view of the land through the human perspective. Landscape paintings of the west are riddled with ideas of industrialization, westward expansion, and manifest destiny. America’s history of colonization, rooted in this religious and capitalist ideology, transformed the United States-Mexico borderline from a delineation of land into a symbol for nationalism and mistrust. Border theory analyzes the arbitrary quality of these demarcations and reframes borders as entities in constant motion and negotiation. Artists have been addressing the militarization of the wall along the US-Mexico border since the mid 1980’s. These early collectives began a conversation that now includes artists from diverse backgrounds and extends far beyond the walls of the borderlands.
Using this history, I employ printmaking techniques as a tool to create poetic translations of borderscapes that project my immigrant identity and experience. These works derive from a place where real and imaginary converge and through this perspective, the landscape reemerges, “picturesque”, but scarred, nostalgic, and desolate.
You Are Here, makes a reference to dot markers on maps and their abstract representation of place. This work aims to challenge the rigidity and fixity of the border and works to create new spaces of imagination and resistance. Language plays an equal part in this conversation. There is purposeful and problematic rhetoric in use that reduces the complexity of immigration to the binary terms. This is a calculated way to propagate ideas of inside-outside, security-danger, self-other. However, language can also be used to generate spaces of resistance. Your English is So Good, turns language on itself using anagrams and antigrams to expose the latent meaning in the broader context of immigration issues. When considering this body of work, it is important to understand that physical borders and immigrant identity are manifestations that are in constant states of negotiation. The immigrant experience itself exists in a space where identity, nationality, and place blur entirely. Yet it is this obscurity that further defines it.