Growing up I spent a lot of time confined to my room. This created an internalized sense of claustrophobia that I've never been able to escape, and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit I found myself revisiting the feelings of captivity I experienced in childhood in a very real life scenario.
“Safe Room” began as a fascination with the idea of containment (When is it soothing to our nervous system? At what point is it harmful?) but quickly evolved into a reframing of the past through a series of imagined interior spaces and the nebulous phases between them.
It was important to me that these rooms be a utopia for my adolescent self, while still communicating a narrative of being trapped and confused. If I had to be stuck in a room, how could I make that room as desirable as possible?
The most important element in rewriting the past became the addition of choice. I became obsessed with thresholds as a symbol for the option to leave, and windows to mark the existence of life beyond the room. Chains are also predominant in the work, acting as that which can bind us or be used to pull ourselves up and out. Paintings like “On to Better Things” and “Bound and Free” give glimpses into what might happen when we choose to move on, if only for a moment, before entering the next cell and having to muster up the courage to choose all over again.