I always hear you before I see you

Praxis Gallery, New York

JAN 12 - FEB 18, 2017

This was a solo exhibition of six new large-scale paintings presented at Praxis Gallery, New York, in early 2017


It is the common practice of most humans to notice variables in their environment upon shifting to a foreign landscape. While there are many things that I perceive through this process; the most important variable is birds. I Always Hear You Before I See You archives the moments of confusion, nostalgia, double-vision, that occur when one attempts to locate oneself in a new place. The birds that I see and my practice as a birdwatcher of classifying them, offers me an opportunity to construct a memory-list of each new location. Such a practice requires: one to think of what they are seeing, a tool set consisting of knowledge of other species, and most importantly; the visual memory to perceive another creature, cognitively name it, and confirm its presence in that given landscape. Through this last form of identification, I the human salute the bird as a co-inhabitant of that location.

This final affirmation is not always present. My peripatetic biography reminds me of the many instances when: the bird didn’t pause, I didn’t look, it didn’t call; and ultimately I didn’t perceive. I am left longing. In these paintings, birds function as a signifier for multiple forms of melancholia. The conventional birdwatcher only documents the instances when a bird is certainly perceived. In my list of birds (in this group of paintings) I document the birds that I missed. The prose is written as if for a missing lover, a last adventure, a lost land. Typography, abstraction and their many potentialities in between, find a space to think through the way we project language. These unidentified birds offer a way of documenting a form of greyzone, and co-inhabited landscapes. I Always Hear You Before I See You constructs an archive of ‘what-ifs’, ‘maybes’ and ‘hopefullys’. Painting is a vessel for projection systems to operate; in these works text enters that conduit and becomes another form of projection.