I make art about the intertwined histories of pharmaceuticals and color. My pointillist, color-saturated paintings, sculptures, and videos, infused with actual pharmaceuticals and chemicals, utilize imagery from art history and advertising to explore the ecstasy and toxicity of our molecular present. The “pharmakon,” a Greek term that simultaneously means cure, poison, and paint and is the origin of the English words pharmaceutical and toxic, is a critical concept that centers the work.
Parallel to early Modernist art movements of the 1800s, chemical companies such as Bayer, Merck, and Pfizer were founded by simultaneously producing synthetic pharmaceuticals and pigments with the same chemical processes. I often work from images taken from pharmaceutical advertising that bear an uncanny reference to art historical works, particularly from the Impressionist period. These images of idealized leisure, urban parks, and controlled nature form potent means of understanding representations of class, race, sexuality, and gender. I especially focus on dismantling concepts of “Whiteness” that play out in enduring popular imagery, drug bias, and health policies.
I paint large-scale landscapes on Kevlar ballistic fabric dotted with pointillist pill shapes and abstracted figures. I create hypersynthetic sculptures in cast plastic and foam mixed with pigment and drugs. I use appropriated pharmaceutical commercials to create uneasy, layered videos reflecting upon the visuals and marketing of drugs and their impact upon the body. I often combine individual works to form visually cacophonous installations meant to compound the seductively poisonous materials and ecstatic images surrounding us.