T(een/eeth/estosterone), 2018. Oil on canvas. 48" x 48".
This piece draws on the lushly layered digital compositions of Kei Imazu, and the macabre application of paint of Jenny Saville. With these influences, I composed and painted this image about my body, myself, and being transgender. The teeth motif functions as a symbol for my inner self. Teeth are a part of the skeleton, which is usually hidden beneath our skin and bone and muscle. To expose my teeth is to expose the structure that keeps my body together. The various teeth motifs, from the dental diagrams to the baby teeth in a child's skull, all serve as different representations and views that people have about teeth, and about my body. That something as private and hidden as teeth can be studied, codified, and removed from its bodily context, speaks to my experience as a trans person. Through the cisgender gaze on both this painting and my body, I feel as if my body has been alienated from myself.