This series of work references the iconography of “Maria Clara” (a mestiza character from Jose Rizal’s novel Noli me Tangere and metonym for a traditional dress woven from piña fiber and organza). Influenced by Spanish colonization, “Maria Clara” embodies Philippine ideals of female beauty equated with light skin, accompanied by stereotypes of chastity and demureness. Through the process of repetitive layering and a palette evoking skin tones, I utilize the tactility of specific materials such as image transfers on synthetic organza to extract and repudiate these imposed ideals and stereotypes—material remnants intertwined with cultural legacies.
Imahe, 2015. Image transfers on synthetic organza sewn together, approx. 24" x 60" (Photo: Mido Lee Productions)
Layered Remnant, 2015. Image transfer & silkscreen on synthetic organza mounted on panel, 11" x 14"
Streaked Sleeve, 2015. Image transfer & monoprint on paper mounted on panel, 8" x 10"
Shawl Fragments, 2016. Acrylic, image transfer, & monoprint on paper mounted on panel, 20” x 24”
Sleeve Fragment, 2015. Layered monoprints on paper mounted on panel, 16" x 20"
Ghost, 2015. Layered monoprints on paper mounted on panel, 20" x 16"
Pleats, 2015. Image transfer & monoprint on paper mounted on panel, 16" x 12"
Spliced, 2016. Acrylic, image transfer, & silkscreen on paper mounted on panel, 12" x 16"
Intertwined, 2016. Image transfer & silkscreen on paper and synthetic organza mounted on panel, 20" x 24"
Creased, 2016. Image transfer & monoprint on paper mounted on panel, 12” x 16”
Streaked, 2016. Acrylic, image transfer, & silkscreen on fabric and paper mounted on panel, 16” x 20”
Draped, 2017. Acrylic, image transfer, & monoprint on paper and synthetic organza mounted on panel, 20" x 24"
Fabric Fragments, 2016. Acrylic & image transfer on synthetic organza & paper, variations of 5, 8" x 8" each (Photo: Mido Lee Productions)
Fabric Fragments II, 2016. Acrylic & image transfer on paper, 8"x8"
Hybrid, 2015. Monoprint, sumi ink, & acrylic medium on Yupo paper, 23" x 35"
Tisay (Mestiza), 2015. Monoprint and gouache on Yupo paper, 23” x 35”
Filipiñana (After Filipiniana) 2014-2017
A predominant symbol in this series of work is the pineapple. Originally, Spain introduced the pineapple to the Philippines (from South America). The Philippines is currently the world’s largest pineapple producer. A distinct feature of the pineapple is piña fiber, which can be extracted from leaves and woven with organza to make clothing. Historically, piña fiber became an ingredient, along with organza and muslin, in traditional women’s outfits known colloquially as “Maria Clara” (a metonym referring to a mestiza literary figure from Jose Rizal's Noli me Tangere, first published in 1887). The “Maria Clara” became tied to Philippine ideals of beauty and female social roles, underscoring a great irony: the native notion of beauty took on the dictated perspective of the colonizer and became recognized by clothing made from a foreign fruit. This trend continues today as popular Philippine ideas regarding beauty center on imported products, media perpetuation of westernized images, and the championing of myriad skin-whitening/bleaching products.
After Maria Clara's Piña Fiber Sleeve, 2014. Abaca fiber & spray paint on abaca pulp cast, 26" x 48" x 18" (Photo: Mido Lee Productions)
After Maria Clara's Piña Fiber Sleeve, Detail (Photo: Mido Lee Productions)
Piña Offerings, 2014 - 2015. Silkscreen on synthetic organza & synthetic wax mixtures, variable dimensions (Photo: Mido Lee Productions)
Piña Offerings, Detail (Photo: Mido Lee Productions)
Piña Offerings, Detail (Photo: Mido Lee Productions)
Piña Offerings, Detail
Pina Piña Diptych (In Private Collection) & Ang Alamat ng Piña (The Pineapple Legend) The Pineapple Legend, 2014 (Photo: Ramon Pintado)
Ang Alamat ng Piña (The Pineapple Legend), 2014. Image transfer, acrylic, & abaca fiber in found glass votive candle container, 2.5" x 8" each (Photo: Ramon Pintado)
Ang Alamat ng Piña(The Pineapple Legend), Detail (Photo: Ramon Pintado)
Perspectival Perceptions, 2014. Silkscreen on muslin and synthetic organza, 38" x 116" (each)
Pina Eyes, 2014. Silkscreen on muslin, 36" x 24"
Piña Fade, 2017. Acrylic & mage transfer on panel, 6" x 8"
Language Projections 2013
Language Projector is inspired by the linguistic characters of Baybayin – a Filipino written language system used predominantly in the Philippines during pre-Spanish and Spanish colonial times, dating from the 16th until the late 19th century. The widely spoken and written Filipino language (modified by Spanish colonizers during the Philippine colonization period from 1565 to 1898) is a derivative of Baybayin. The Filipino alphabet consists of consonant and vowel sounds taken from Baybayin, coupled with the consonants and vowels from the Spanish alphabet that Baybayin "lacked." Language Projector is an artistic tool I created for projection, tracing, translation, and documentation of the strata of changes in language in relation to origin and derivative. It highlights the hegemony of language through time and confronts the dark, quiet disappearance of the lost original signifiers that have been modified and/or replaced. This hidden violence is reenacted through the torturous way the characters were drilled, twisted, and pop-riveted forcibly to form new shapes, existing in a new realm of possibility. The new forms are then connected together and suspended into space around an artificial light source, producing shadows on the surrounding floor and walls of my studio. Through this process, I engender an investigation of the evolution of a dominated language: forced translations abstracted continuously through travel between different media and physical dimensionalities in my material explorations.