Whether in the form of drawing, photography, or large-scale installation, my work relishes in the abstraction of city space and the transcendence of the mundane to the imaginative. I create visual compositions that engage a hybrid aesthetic of minimalism and density, using text, glitter, family Polaroids, subculture codes, and found objects. Recent works engage as primary source material the 500-page FBI surveillance file kept on my father, Rodney Barnette, who founded the Compton, California, chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968. In my hands, these repressive documents are reclaimed in an intergenerational assertion of the power of the personal as political. My work deals in the currency of the real, in earthly acts of celebration and resistance, but is also tethered to the otherworldly, a speculative fiction, a galactic escape—this is abstraction in service of everyday magic and survival in America.
While at Headlands
I will continue my engagement with family history and local narrative, focusing on my father’s bar as a space of resistance, celebration, activism, and community building. The New Eagle Creek Saloon (1990–93), was a family run business that served a multiracial gay community marginalized by the racist profiling practices of San Francisco’s bar scene at that time.