My mother never went out or received visitors without putting on, at the very least, lipstick and eyebrow liner. These made her optimistic public face.


The media for this new series of drawings consists entirely of partially used cosmetics found in my mother’s home during the process of clearing her belongings following her death. Faced with the dilemma of what to do with the matter that remains, I embarked on a journey of documentation, photographing anachronistic everyday objects before I gave them away, disposed of them, kept them – or used them. When I sorted through the makeup, I realized that I needed to make use of this matter as drawing media, and that I needed to keep drawing with this matter until all of the makeup was consumed. I structured the makeup in a methodical manner as a way of marking my mother’s relationship to these tools, for instance in how she used them as an interface for public interaction. Using up the makeup was also an act of transformation for me, a way of documenting and contemplating my mother’s everydayness. In going through the overwhelming matter left behind, I began to experience an anxiety of optimistic objects, not only pertaining to the loss of my mother but also to what matters in how I continue to live. How do we deal with the onerous accumulation of stuff in our lives? The things we accumulate are signs of our belief in a brighter future, and they become informative archives of human existence; but they can also become a ball and chain, evidence of a deluded certainty in endless consumption.


What is the matter we need to hang onto after we lose a loved one? As I grapple with this question, I embark on a process of letting go, of finding peace in the finite.



media: mixed media (cosmetics, egg tempera) on clayboard or paper
dimensions: 10″ x 10″ to 23″ x 23″ (varying depths)


Matter was first shown in a solo exhibition at Anna Kaplan Contemporary, Buffalo, New York.