I lied at my first confession. Bored in weekly sermons and trips to holy sanctuaries, I often found myself distracted by over-the-top ornamentation and violent imagery; it was both divine and unsettling. Religious icons in and out of my home became constant reminders of morality, pain, and the grotesque. In this body of work, I use texts to reveal personal confessions that imply shame. Hand-drawn images and the printed word serve as a biographical narrative, which document what I suppressed living in a conservative Catholic family. The “front” I carried became a way for me to conceal what I perceived then as a hypocritical household. In this expansive collection of objects and icons, I have created a shrine-like space, which is simultaneously alluring and disturbing. My intention is to convey the unease between purity, seduction, and evil. Intricate drawings, repetition, and pattern have become rituals in my process, which allude to the monotony of mundane rituals that occur in worship. Gaudy religious icons, which were once dull, have been heavily accessorized with “bling” in an attempt to make the object more interesting. They hint at the mass production of holy celebrities in order to sell faith. Although I feel reverence for these religious icons, I question my faith because I have no remorse for my actions and my sins. By revealing my personal confessions, I hope to confront myself with truth and disclose the discomfort in trying to balance religious beliefs and actions in everyday life.
YLA23: Beyond Walls, Between Gates, Under Bridges
Curated by Rocha Rochelli
Austin, Texas | June 2018
A Cafeteria Catholic is an individual who selects which faith or moral teachings best suit their lifestyle at a given time……
I don’t always believe in God, I forever question my faith. Rather than leaving religion altogether, I pick and choose Catholic teachings that interest me and suit my lifestyle. In my youth I was taught to suppress my ideas, not to draw attention to myself, not to date boys and never told about “the birds and the bees.” Because of my strict Catholic upbringing, accepting my thoughts and being myself is a constant battle.
Within this body of work, I simulate the memory of my mother hiding my artwork with bath towels. When confronted, she explained that she did not want to see the drawings because they scared her. The white fabric is symbolic of purity, and acts as a veil to hide shameful thoughts from the judgment of others. Hand-drawn images imply the struggle between good and evil. It is an attempt to leave the suppression of living in a conservative Catholic family and expose imperfection and impure thoughts.
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
Cafeteria Catholic, Artist Lab Residency Exhibition
San Antonio, Texas | December 2016
One of my earliest childhood memories is of holding my grandmother's bruised hand as she lay in a coffin laden with satin ruffles and sweet-smelling floral bouquets. My mother is the youngest of thirteen children, and I accompanied her to the numerous funerals of her brothers and sisters.
This early experience instilled a fascination with death that I have been questioning and researching since I was able to read. I often escape to cemeteries to read epitaphs, and observe religious items, old photographs, and flowers left behind. I like to think of cemeteries as visual diaries of souls who have passed. I am curious how families mourn their loved ones.
My interpretation of death is whimsical, romantic, and sweet. The bones and skeletal images are symbolic of the strength—as well as of the fragility— of the human body. I experiment with the idea of finding beauty in death and accepting my own mortality through personal narratives from my childhood. I invite my viewers to abandon their taboos about the inevitable, and experience my love of life and profound interest in death.
Early Mourning - Master of Arts Thesis Exhibition
Corpus Christi, Texas May 2011