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The Kool-Aid Wino

Project type

Solo Exhibition


January, 2024


Studio San Giuseppe Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

“I lay there and thought about how life was like a Littmus Lozenge, how the sweet and the sad were all mixed up together and how hard it was to separate them out.”
- Kate Dicamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie

“The Kool-Aid Wino” evaluates memories as a complex fusion of positive and negative feelings; as things that shape us and that we reshape in the present. The works hold the premise that nostalgia is something that does not exist as exclusively one or the other in our minds. This exhibition is my reflection on space and time as they touch one another, cultivating a shared sensation of the world as I attempt to filter childhood emotions through adult awareness.

Each element references an anecdote, memory, or feeling from my life that pertains to my identity. In the same way that a memoir differs from an autobiography, these works capture moments from infancy to the present, but focus on vulnerability and authenticity rather than a linear narrative.

I lean heavily on cinema, text, and unusual dreamlike imagery in this show as film and poetry can often portray our theatrical perception of reality in a more acute manner than any factual account of it ever could.

The title is a tongue-in-cheek remark on maturation and memory, contrasting the sugary, childlike connotation of a ubiquitous childhood drink with the serious, often tragic reality of adulthood understandings and coping mechanisms.
Relationships, race, fame, fear, curiosity, and loneliness all have their place but are used as aspects of an environment rather than singular statements. A stripped-down visual language departs from my typical approach to storytelling in order to allow you to absorb the feeling of space in similar ways as I have, instead of focusing on the minutia of the works.

The title references the 1967 short story by Richard Brautigan, and much like him, “The Kool-Aid Wino” blends humor with poignant observations to access the foundational sentiments of humanity.

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