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The callous, in spirit or corporeal form, is a compromise. A boundary between an intense force and a sensitive body, callousness grows to accommodate needs. Visualizing the condensed and consistent irregularity of skin and thought, I meditate on the function of this agreement. Through repetition and focus the distributive capabilities of callousness increase the capacity for intense feeling while dulling the consequences.
I empty confused thoughts into these spaces and watch as woes are restructured into peaceful forms. They contain, neutralize, and distribute potentially piercing injuries, influences, and ambitions. Left behind is a record of this containment, a molted layer, preserving the past and suggesting the future.
The origin of these beings is unconscious, but their ancestry is decipherable beyond the immediacy of a callous influence. The graceful intimacy and irregularity through repetition found in the work of Emma Kunz, Agnes Martin, and Eva Hesse is an inspiration. Visually my forms recall myriapods, prison hatch marks, and overly romanticized yet still personally unseen landscapes of the badlands. They are the exoskeletons of mandalas, pointing towards the fleeing flesh and spirit.
Making and using these forms is a way to locate the self. It satisfies my inner Cassandra’s need to see and communicate abstrusely. The process mimics the behaviors from my favorite characters in magical realism literature. These characters’ actions are passive. They patiently wait and pay close attention, trusting instinct to pull them towards the answers imbedded within repeated routines and memories. Another driving influence comes from the emotional intrigue found in X-Men comics, particularly the never-ending struggle for control over potentially damaging thoughts, feelings, and talents.
These callouses are armor between my conscious and unconscious mind. But they also serve as protection from the concussive social and emotional forces from others.