Work Statement. The social conditions of labor informs my art practice. The awful ache I feel when I see the mistreatment of workers anywhere in the world informs my work. This interest comes from my own family history with grandparents on both sides working as immigrant laborers and service workers. My Mother’s father was employed as a farm and cannery worker after relocating from Chihuahua, Mexico. My core belief is that in recognizing labor as cultural production there becomes an expanded social space.
25 drawings 19 x 15” each; graphite on handmade paper with palladium leaf
Resonator drawings use the materiality and imagery of Jalisco ceramics
The vernacular ceramic imagery creates a kind of conceptual opening to more expansive thoughts about labor history. Exploring this aspect of Mexico colonial labor history, connects symbolically to larger world communities. Labor is an eternal activity.
Wheel of Fortune
Suspended leather support belts with inlaid mirror, steel chain, tire
This piece was created for Womb Space, CDMX in April 2022
The installation uses interlocking leather support belts suspended from steel chain.
Wheel of Fortune utilized an interior room with an open sky. The open space informed the idyllic qualities of laborers to embrace hopefulness and will to succeed. The belts were made by Victor Parra a saddle-maker from Guadalajara who is a Charro. ( Charros are the horseman of México who preceded the ‘Marlboro Man.’ They were a significant part of the Mexican revolution. Today they hold many craft traditions, and have a unique working relationship with land).
Blue Resonators / Two Versions
3 sheets of paper 27.5 x 39 inches, overall 27.5 x 78 inches
Layers of paint create a kind of deep space that acts like a beacon, or resonator. Resonators emanate energy beyond the current physicalsetting. The idea is to develop an expression that links workers on a cosmic plane. Labor is an eternal activity.
(6) Framed Drawings; 12 x 49 inches each, 76 x 49 inches overall
Graphite and silver metallic ribbon, tape collage on construction paper. Paper varies slightly in size. Made in Guadalajara May 2021. The belts are worn by laborers to bolster the core of the body when doing heavy lifting. The drawings refer to empire-building labor. The drawings are informed by Mexican labor history, including African slave labor which began around the year 1521.
Right Hand Left Hand
20 x 17 x 10 inches
Brown cotton gloves , 2" polished brass tubing, red thread, 3/8 rod armature.
83 x 26 x 14 inches
Cotton gloves , 2" polished brass with buttons mounted onto a Bosh roto-hammer box
Right Hand Left Hand - The coronavirus pandemic has created a moment where service workers throughout the entire world are given more attention than ever before My core belief is that in recognizing labor as cultural production there becomes an expanded social space.
Mud Sill - The work is informed by the Essential Workers so visible during the pandemic. Mudsill theory was first articulated James Hammond a US senator from South Carolina and a wealthy plantation owner, who argued that every society must find a class of people to do menial labor, whether called slaves or not, and that assigning that status on a racial basis followed natural law.
88 x 62 x 62 inches; 90 x 25 x 20 inches; 85 x 21 x 28 inches each
Used paper flour bags, Chinese ceramic vessels, 5/16" steel base, 3/4” steel rod armature, 2” polished brass tubing, wooden beads, $USD, wire, hardware
Chinatown is informed by New York Chinatown labor, immigrant labor, Chinatown economy and street economy. The traditional ceramic vessels refer to a vernacular presence that is shifting as economies change. The paper flour bags are repurposed from the Chinese noodle factory nearby my studio in Chinatown.
Endless Support / three versions
Support belts made with paper and leather. (6) interlocking hand-sewn belts made with paper cement bags, grommets, steel chain
Endless Support applies the universality and purity of Brancusi's Endless Column to the social conditions of labor. Made from discarded paper
cement bags, flour bags, and leather with inlaid mirror. They are modeled after the support belts worn by warehouse workers and laborers to provide core support when working. The canvas bed cover has decorative brass studs.
Blue Resonators / Three Versions
79 x 28 inches, Diptych
Blue Resonator drawings use color to explore the idea of the Cosmic worker. Additionally these early works are used as a study for realizing ceramic wall panels this size.
Michael is currently speaking with ceramic fabricators and curators in Jalisco about this project. 360 Xochi Quetzal Residency, Chapala, Mexico.
Graphite, prismacolor on paper 30 x 22” each; with text (series of 12 made at Nars Residency, Brooklyn) Petatillo, Canelo and Brunido are styles of Jalisco traditional ceramics.
The materiality of vernacular clay works becomes an entry point to uncover new world colonial labor history. Hybridity, creolization and viability of traditional form are part of the inquiry of Blood Vessels. Petatillo refers to the surface detail of the vessels which is rough like a petate mat. Canelo refers to the cinnamon (canela)-color surface. Brunido refers to the burnished surface. When a Brunido vessel is used for storing water, the clay infuses the water with a desired perfumed taste.