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 series of drawings consists of 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 objects before giving them away, disposing of them, keeping them – or using them. Sorting 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 in a methodical manner until all of the makeup was consumed. I wanted to mark my mother’s relationship to these tools in terms of how she applied them and how she used them as an interface for public interaction. Using up the makeup was an act of transformation for me, a way of immersing myself in my mother’s presence. In going through the overwhelming matter left behind, I  experienced 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 take care of after we lose a loved one? What is the matter we want to leave behind? As I grapple with these questions, I embark on a process of letting go, of finding order in disorder, and the infinite 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.