Todas Las Flores

January 5th-31st

Midnight Oil Gallery

Yucca Valley, California

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STATEMENT FROM THE ARTIST

You can cut down all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming” - (Translated from the original spanish quote by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda ) talks about how oppression and suppression can only be tolerated for so long before the resistance starts to stir and eventual revolution sprouts inside the oppressed.  In this quote I have found connection to the feelings I have spent years trying to define inside of myself as a woman, daughter, lover and friend. The internal awakening I felt in reading it had inspired me to create these pieces, based from real life scenarios where my emotional response had been diminished to either, appease someone else’s emotions, societal standard or to simply gain control of me.  An slow churning of contradicting emotions rose from inside of me as I let these ideas come to light and into the shape and form you see now. Each piece came from a painful, or confusing interaction in which someone else had tried to undermine my own personal reasoning and moral code to turn the injustice they were performing into a justified act by suppressing my power to respond naturally. The piece“ DIMINISH” has the words “You Americans are always overreacting” on the bottom of the boot, this phrase was spoken to me by a stranger who had drugged my drink the night before and dragged my limp body across his carpet, leaving me waking to bloody knuckles and scraped knees.  My mind and body were so disoriented all I was able to muster were words about how I was going to miss my flight back to the US if he didnt let me out of his apartment immediately, my urgency in needing to escape prompted him to say those words to me, diminishing what he had done to my body the night previous and turn my nationality against me.  I struggled for years to understand that what he had done was not acceptable, I have learned through this project the various ways the manipulation and suppression of emotional response can be used as a tool of control, something until now perhaps I was not fully aware of happens to all of us. In the piece “SEETHE” a crumpled note reading “ I am sorry for not loving you when you were growing up. I am sorry for being mean to your mother. I am sorry for being an asshole to our family ” a note I received as a teenageer from  my abusive stepfather who, begrudgingly tried to apologize for years of mistreatment through  an insincere act, shows how the action of apology can be used to continue to tie the abuser to the abused.  “TENDER” and “LAY BARE” showcase the feelings surrounding vulnerability in love and relationship, the strength needed to share the intimate and unpleasant moments of one's life in order to become closer to another human.  “ACQUIESCENCE” was built to try an understand the connection that, I as a woman have to my own sexuality, the reluctant surrender of my body in situations that felt unsafe to say no in, that consent in the moment is always necessary no matter the level of relationship or previous agreement.  I have found in this short study of my own emotional responses to events in my life that many could have been avoided, many could have been stopped if I had been more in touch with my own internal world and dialogue in those moments, if i had been embracing my gut reactions, listening to my body, allowing my mind to dictate where things were able to go or not, instead of feeling the need to keep them locked inside of myself in order to appeal to others for, validation,  attention, safety, or a feeling of belonging if i just made myself fit the mold they wanted. “CONTEND” has three hands reaching towards one small piece of string, the string representing acceptance, ultimate approval and attention if only you can be the victor and gather the most strength, keep the most inside, and hide all the intricacies that comprise you. The final piece, but first one to be built was “BLEEDING HEART” it was built as permission to myself to openly explore myself as an emotional being without feeling shame, or immodesty for being honest to myself and others.  I invite you to do the same, may we all be able to look at ourselves and know we are complete no matter where we are now, where we have been or what we have seen, we are beautiful in all our pitfalls. No one can keep you down.