My only objective was to make the painting I needed to make — whatever that might be.

Learning What Forever Feels Like draws viewers into the universal experience of being human.       This hybrid painting/performance/ installation brings the viewer into a deep and dynamic understanding of absence. The painting sets the stage for the performance, the performance connects the audience to the poetry, and the poetry makes the painting come to life. 

Up until this point, my process had been highly controlled and conceptualized. l felt detached and apathetic towards my studio practice. The regimen and rules I had created to feel safe in my practice were masking real and vulnerable expression.

 

This project marks a really important transformation in my process. For the first time I was starting to paint without a plan. My only objective was to make the painting I needed to make -- whatever that might be.

Watch the layers of the Learning What Forever Feels Like painting unfold. 


I had been experimenting with unstretched, unprimed canvas for smaller sketch-like paintings. I was painting family members and personal subject matter -- something I had not done publicly. I wondered how this method would  translate into one of my larger more finished works. I was concerned that my personal experiences would not engage my audience. I was afraid that by making myself exposed and vulnerable I would inadvertently force people to shut down, disengage or raise walls in the absence of mine. This was my worst fear.

 

artist & painter

Another important change happened to my process with this project. I broke down the wall separating poetry from paintings. I had been writing and performing poetry in Atlanta for a few years; yet, I had never made a connection between the poems and the paintings. Most people who knew me as a painter had no clue I was a poet and visa-versa. LWFFL is the first time I allowed all of myself to be present in my work. 

Writing allowed me to connect with my painting process in a more intimate and authentic manner. Once I took down the walls between myself and my work, creating a hybrid installation was the most natural thing in the world.

Learning what forever feels like painting, 6 x 15, acrylic and oil on canvas

Learning what forever feels like painting, 6 x 15, acrylic and oil on canvas

The original recording of Learning What Forever Feels Like during its installation at the Dalton Gallery. 

 
We only get so much time. I want to spend that time being real, vulnerable, and strong. That’s the kind of life I want for myself.