Using sculpture, installation, and mark-making, my work meditates on the unfathomable magnitude of humanity, exploring the tension between individuality and the multiplicity of our species, the singular and the universal, visibility and anonymity, order and disorder, growth and decay. At the route of my practice is the question: what is the role of the individual within the horde? My work toggles back and forth between minimizing and asserting the presence of an individual.

My practice draws on the lineage of the 19th century Romantic artists who used their paintings to evoke the sublime by reminding the viewer of their diminutive status in relation to grand landscapes. In contrast to the Euro-masculinist sublime which focused on defining, containing, and dominating the Other (including nature, women, and people of colour), my work emerges out of a feminist sublime which disrupts the fantasy of a sovereign self, separate from and in control of the Other. Specifically, I locate the sublime in the multiplicity of our species, our interdependence on one another and on the Earth. Employing an aesthetic of accumulation, my sculptures and installations draw inspiration from microbiology and other overlooked, even discarded, landscapes. I aim to create a visual experience of our interconnectedness to beings (both human and non-human) we may never know, to break open the illusion of a discrete, independent “I” that exists separately from “them”.

My impermanent installations exist along a spectrum of becoming and undoing, reflecting on the transience of our collective existence, full of the potential for continual transformation. I often compose my works using unfired clay, imparting them with precarity while reflecting on our dependence on the Earth. This primordial material also bears the memory of the earliest artists, all the way back to the cave of Le Tuc d’Audoubert in France, where a bull and cow sculpted in raw clay have lain for about 15,000 years. Even when fired, the accumulation of ceramic artifacts allows for a continual shift in form through piling, bundling, breaking, and reforming. In this way, whether the clay is fired or unfired, time is an important component of my engagement with materials – both in terms of the labour-intensive nature of my work, but also in terms of the potential for its continued growth or eventual deterioration.

My mark-making practice blends references to Colour Field and cave paintings. Just as prehistoric artists recorded their presence using pigments of the earth, my finger paintings record my presence with a simple, yet persistent gesture. Using soil and naturally occurring oxides, these paintings connect me to the earliest artists, as we insist on recording our existence with the earth. Until the 1960s Canadian immigration policy overtly favored people of European descent. The legacy of this policy is visible in every room I enter. It reminds me, an Egyptian-Canadian, that whiteness was the goal for this nation. It is in this context that I continue to assert my existence and right to take up space by recording my presence. Even so, my extremely individual mark is a universal one, shared among all humans. These paintings also meditate on mortality, as the marks of my presence fade.