Claudia Gomez, a 20-year old Guatemalan refugee, was gunned down by U.S. Border Patrol Agents in 2018. Claudia's story unfolds in Double-Slit Doppelganger (2018-19). The wall behind her cuts through the work horizontally and symbolizes not only the American border, but the physical feature located at the scene. Yet, it also connects metaphorically to the double-slit theory in quantum physics whereby a wave entering is copied and projects a set of alternating black and white stripes via light waves—an interference pattern. The varied reality metaphors converge with the allegorical use of McDonalds motifs to yield sardonic commentary on our culture of nostalgia, while also examining our metaverse gaze. A gaze that has vilified Claudia as a thief of American culture by transforming her into the Hamburglar.
The themes presented in Doppelganger set the stage for a convergence with Metaverse Malaise, a previous theme and series of paintings. My wife, an immigrant from Brazil, subsumes Claudia’s role as border bandit. Achomlishments (sic) and Couch Potatoes immerse my family into the ongoing ideological assaults that unfold as metaverse happenings, while their mixed nationalistic and cultural heritage are appropriately vilified and garbed. In these narratives of alterity, proximity, presence, and place become a playground for the insidious circus that exists outside our doors, but that we invite inward via our devices. Surface reticulations through paint handling intertwine formal and conceptual concerns, forming allegorical constructs of alterity that mine messages from the fragmented digital spheres. The painting's crosshatching, interference patterns, and surfaces are corollaries for the artificial identities manufactured online and create perceptual shifts at varied distances, linking the viewing experience to the necessary scrutiny we must exert on our information and perceptions.
Enmeshed with personal figurative images, Space Invaders creates a dialog that encapsulates the unraveling political atmosphere including the cultural reflections emerging at the U.S. border. A border that demarcates not only a nation, but the divisions in my own home where fear dwells alongside a mixed nationalistic culture. Space becomes a physical invader in subsequent fragmentary work that segments the picture plane through fracture with Run a Make Border the For! (2019), while metaverse absurdity is explored in Pair of Dise (2020). Metaverse themes and correlating metaphors are navigated in my upcoming MFA Thesis titled: Externalities of the Metaverse Gaze.