The installation Reverse Alchemy was intended as a tribute to the difficult lives, unseen labor and rich immigrant history of New York's Lower East Side.
Taking Robert Ryman's white-on-white paintings as inspiration, I was able to go one step further towards minimalism - to create paintings made only of paint (without the usual canvas/panel/substrate) - whilst allowing narratives of immigration, displacement, unseen labor, and questions of value and function in art and life to emerge and intersect in unexpected ways.
Channeling social realist photographs by Jacob Riis and Berenice Abbot of tenement life during the Great Migration at the turn of the the 20th Century; moths (memento mori) under floorboards from the garment industry; the rich history of alchemy and art; the feminine labor of laundry; and the decorative arts tradition - I created laundry strictly made out of paint.
To fabricate these laundry "rags:, I developed hybrid techniques inspired by the decorative arts: reverse painting/verre eglomise, marbling and stenciling. Programing a light cycle to creat a disorienting, simulated, and compressed day/night cycle allowed for the fading in and out of UV sensitive pigments and created the night-time glow of moths and fireflies embedded in the "rags" hung from clotheslines throughout the gallery.