VOICEMAIL PAINTINGS: 2018
Voicemail Paintings is a series based on voicemail messages I had saved since moving back to America, some years back. Each painting is a visual representation of language that is used in the message: the abstracted imagery and lines correspond to a sound wave of this spoken audio. The title references this text, and the number relates to the order of the message received.
I wanted to work with archived voicemails because I have always been interested in nontraditional forms of self-portrait. After my phone was stolen in March 2018, I thought about the thief listening to my saved messages and how a person whom I have never met would know intimate details about my life and relationships. I compared this to social media where strangers can also access personal details and feel like they know someone, but it differs because the user always controls the content and dissemination of information. I started to think of these saved voicemails as fragments of my identity and could be seen as deconstructed self-portraits when rendered in paint.
I think that what we save and why we choose to save certain things (both digital and tangible objects) hints at our true identity. Perhaps this is the opposite of social media, where users create their persona and control the narrative. I intentionally worked with a limited and muted color palette to allude to the many gray areas in life and how things are not always in black and white.
Considering that the concept of this series is identity, I initially painted on mirrors to highlight a reflection of the self. This initial square format of each work referred to social media and the fragmented self-portraits we create online. But as the series (and my concept of it) expanded, I transitioned to include larger canvases.
This was work was done for the exhibition Cracking Nutshells at DZINE Gallery.