(work in progress)

Pushing Through 

2016-2017

 

Pushing Through is a visual chronicle of the lessons I have learned while raising my child with autism. In these paintings, I have used images of my son, my partner, and myself because we all have taken parts in this experience. I placed the portraits behind a frosted glass to represents the isolation that my son's condition brings to our lives. The contrast between the figures pressing to reach out, with the objects floating vividly in the front, creates contextual tensions and pictorial divisions. This separation is further clarified and emphasized by the two-dimensional space of the texts, and the ambiguity of their context. The words are deliberately combined in such way to describe an experience that can be attributed both to the person who lives in a world of autism, as well as those on the outside who may presume what that world would be like.

Pushing Through is my first attempt to address my son's disability through the poetics of visual art. My child was born as a typical and healthy infant who began to regress gradually into autism at 15 months of age and finally was diagnosed after his third birthday. The journey that involves the acknowledgment, acceptance and learning to accommodate the needs of a loved one with a disability is too complex to be summed up in a few paintings or to be represented in still images altogether. This experience includes years of agonizing trauma, pervasive fear, and painful isolation, but it also can lead to unique insights from which a new form of enlightenment and contentment will grow. Thus with this body of art, it is my desire to share my most distilled reflections, in the hope that they will resonate with those whose experiences have secluded them from the embrace of their community.