My work completely changed after the 2016 election. I went from painting small, decorative abstractions to making self-portraits, which I then shred and weave together. I began by weaving together my abstract paintings to create original works, often two-sided. I felt a need to destroy what I had made in order to reimagine it in a new way. I was simultaneously making self-portraits, some with exaggerated facial expressions, some nude. I started weaving the self-portraits together as a way of abstracting my gaze and attempting to reveal a variegated expression of my inner life. The original portraits are generally quite straightforward but the nature of the weaving allows for unexpectedly powerful emotions to emerge. This is a time of deep introspection for me, and for my country, and this is my way of confronting myself and trying to assert my place in the world. They are direct and confrontational. Showing more of my body provides further intimacy. While my materials (paper, gouache) come from a painting tradition, I use traditional crafting methods to create the work. It is all done by hand, and I embrace imperfection. I am pushing myself to work larger, go deeper and bolder.


Photo: Paul Quinn