Artist Statement

Statement on my current work 2020-Carmen Argote

My art-making begins with the process of searching, digesting, and conversing with the spaces and places I inhabit. I often think of my body akin to a sponge, trusting in a corporeal processing of my surroundings. This process of digesting, builds my understanding of the relationships between personal history, memory, cultural systems, and the collective energy in society.

I use the action of walking to construct and develop the visual language of my work. The slowness of walking within a city like Los Angeles, offers context to the scale of my body. This process compels me to contend with ideas of class and consumption, with ideas of home and place.

I take pictures and record voice memos with my phone, as a way to visually capture fragments and gestural moments of interest. The process of this allows me to bring these gestures into artworks, and to reflect on my actions of observation. I manifest these connections through site-specific sculpture, installation, drawings, video and performance. My choice of materials—cochineal, citrus fruit, avocados, strawberry syrup, and coffee—directly reference histories of labor, violence, oppression, and colonialism through the visual language of abstraction.

My recent work has continued to focus on the relationship between private and public spaces. In my film Last Light, I contend with the psychological impact of the connections between the interior and exterior architecture. The process of working on Last Light, and a desire for the haptic propelled me into an intense drawing process. I have a great interest in the idea of works on paper, on the paper surface as an extension of both the body, of architecture and of landscape.

The multi-venue shows Glove Hand Dog (held concurrently at Commonwealth and Council, Clockshop, and Stairwell LA) exemplify the workings of my multidisciplinary art practice. The demarcation of the passing of time through oil stains and tracings come into focus in works such as Digesting Scroll—Feb, March, April. The immediacy of delineations of my hands with crayons, as they search and find a dog-like form, show the imaginings of the subconscious. In my works on paper, and in my sound and video work, I search into the relationship between public and private space.

Currently I am working on a body of work called Mother set in two locations, Evergreen cemetery and my home in Boyle Heights. I am making a video work comprised of actions at each location, and looking at the relationship between mother and child, mother and son, and father and daughter. I am asking what the role of the perpetuation of patriarchal thinking and values has had in the life of my grandmother, my father, my mother, and my notion of self. Developing into a series of actions, drawings, rubbings, and performances, I envision the work culminating into an installation which brings all elements together.