The concept of an alternate universe always felt abstract to me. Until the pandemic.
Over the seasons that my family spent waiting for it to be safe again, I started to take photographs of my street, the woods, anywhere I could easily reach on foot, never too far from home. Then, back in my studio, I painted canvases with fierce colors and strokes, then photographed those paintings. In Photoshop, I combined photographs and paintings together, creating fantastical layer upon layer. The final step, digital drawing, involved scraping away one layer to reveal the other underneath.
Multiple layers were like the inklings of one universe refracting through another. The resulting compositions have an urgent energy that I now recognize, looking back, as the friction between a personal landscape that was deep with grief and the vibrancy of the imagined life I longed for and missed.
I’ve continued to work on this series in the years that have followed, as our life has moved forward. We’ve emerged from isolation to seek greater connections with others and the world beyond our home. I see in this series too an ongoing nurturance of the spark within us. What once felt like an alternative timeline is now our life, the only story of our life that is real, the one that includes both trauma and reemergence.