Wet Sketchbook III
Oil on Canvas
My interest in depicting these particular domestic spaces comes from an unusual encounter I had with a clothing-iron. When I was a teenager I lived in an “efichensi” (a vernacular pronunciation of efficiency), the illegal subdivision of a home into a separate living unit. Like many families who recently arrived in Miami from Cuba, my mother and I lived in this affordable, but overcrowded, transitional space until my college years. One morning while ironing my clothes on the bed where I slept, she accidentally placed a hot iron on my leg. I woke up startled and with the desire to scream, but I didn’t. These paintings come from such a place. The still-lives and interiors are an informal self-portrait that narrates the struggle of immigration. The works are a homage to these commonly forgotten spaces, the catalyst of the American dream where most success stories begin.
More recently I’ve been drawing from another traumatic experience; the damaging of artworks and personal belonging caused by a storm surge of Hurricane Irma. The sketchbooks, couches, sandals, and other commonplace objects depicted bare in their muddy surfaces the evidence of trauma and decay. These objects form part of a new body of work, witnesses of sea-level rise.
I use primarily oil paint. I use many layers and apply the paint thickly using pallet knives and frosting tools. I work from events in my memory, not from direct observation.