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“The core of my work oscillates between portraiture and design, exploring themes related to the body, language and the formation of identity. From rendering a figure by writing a text repetitively to sewing highly individualized uniforms, my work unpacks layers of meaning embedded in how we socialize and perceive one another.
Employing the use of the written word to make drawings came about during my detour away from painting, as a way to investigate the mechanics of construction our personal and collective identities. I stripped my work of color and gesture and instead began to construct works on paper by layering hand-written text. The process of writing a text in repetition to compose the portrait became a metaphor for the way that we acquire and inhabit language. It also extended the work into the realm of a performative act, in which the process of making it is as important as the finished piece. I see the drawings as a series of conversions where the subject has first been rendered with light through the photographic process, then carefully converted to text as I filter the photographic information through my eyes and hand.
Understanding that the advent of the written word arrived as the capacity of human memory deteriorated situates the portraits as a kind of documentation that might extend the reach of collective memory and historical consciousness. My first experimentations were composed with hand-written text, some cursive some hand-printed. Following these early text drawings came further exploration using rubber stamp letters. In the way that the hand-written works engage with the history of penmanship and an individualized method of mark-making, the stamp drawings connect with industry, printmaking and a broader dissemination of information”. -Kenturah Davis