A House Divided
Owens has noted that photography as allegory “would represent our desire to fix the transitory” yet what each image offers “is only a fragment” (p. 71). My own artistic process is an attempt to defy the arbitrariness of my lens and my canvas, neutralizing my own perspective. I shoot each location from a number of angles and perspectives, with a video camera set in an entirely different position, reflecting the way each person brings to all psychological landscapes his or her own unique perception and experience. I compile the images into a video montage, using the final footage as a springboard for my acrylic canvases.
Many of my works in my recent series entitled A House Divided have been derived from my interest in immigration laws. In Colorado, where I taught at a community college in a rural area with 60 percent Hispanic population, I would stress that until just over a century ago, the land was part of Mexico. Many who now work the fields and inhabit Colorado are considered “illegal immigrants,” even though their great-great-great grandparents were among the original natives in the region.
By superimposing a scenes from what is now identified as Mexico onto canvases that also depict well-known American-identified works of architecture, intentionally playing with the perspective and using hues typically found on kitsch “Southwestern Art” with the broad, deeply textured painterly brushstrokes that announces my artistic presence as the interpretive translator, I am representing the fragmented physical landscape resulting from the demarcating lines that have been artificially imposed upon those who have inhabited the land since the birth of their own culture.