Harriette Tsosie

13769 (Immigration) 2018
mixed media with acrylic on paper and panel
30 x 10 x 2 in

My work invariably focuses on identity, which I see as shaped primarily by genetics, place and language. Of these three influences, I am concerned mostly with language, as it embodies culture. The manifestation of language in its written form seems always beautiful, no matter what the culture. Many spoken languages are being eradicated as their last speakers die off. Some had no written form, so are now lost. The relentless advance of technology has jeopardized written language. Homogenized computer symbols are replacing cursive writing in the name of keyboard proficiency. The loss of written language is a loss of the mark making unique to each person, revered since the time of the cave paintings.

Yet technology also offers artists new materials and forms for creating artwork. My current media include acrylic, Sumi and alcohol based inks.

My surfaces are canvas, paper, panel and Tyvek. On Tyvek, my marks are made with alcohol based inks, which are able to penetrate the Tyvek, even though it is normally water and heat resistant. I can also use its heat resistant properties to contort and distort the Tyvek, which yields interesting and unanticipated shapes and forms.

The body of work submitted for the 2018 Wordplay exhibition is political.  It explores the current administration’s use of executive orders and memoranda to circumvent the legislative process and erode the separation of powers established by the constitution. Political content is not my typical focus, but I feel artists cannot remain silent in these troubled times.

© Harriette Tsosie