A Reconstructed Family Reunion

The family photograph is an integral artifact of our lives and identities. We view each picture as a small story in the larger narrative of our existence: that was from my 8th birthday party, this is me in high school, and so on. But they hide as much as they show, not simply just from what is just outside the frame, but also what and who are missing entirely. Growing up without a father, his absence in my own family photos speaks to the lack of knowing, as well as an alternate timeline where he did exist and was present.

A Reconstructed Family Reunion is a series of oil on panel paintings that explores the mythology and power of the family photograph. After some amateur sleuthing, I have discovered a potential candidate that could be my father, although there is no confirmation or certainty. I use images from this person and his family’s Facebook accounts to create small paintings meant to mimic traditional family photos, inserting myself to generate a different truth, a different family. In trying to invent a new past, one in which we are integrated, a strange fake reality results, one in which my addition can never truly be “right.” By rendering these outsiders with myself, I establish, or rather force, a relationship; I get to know them over time, one brushstroke after another. Through inventing and imposing relationships and events that clearly don’t exist, these paintings disrupt the narrative of what a hetero-normative family, specifically the father-daughter relationship, should be or look like.