I started working with paprika in my first semester of graduate school after preparing dinner with my roommate.  She asked why I added paprika to roast chicken and I replied, "Doesn't everyone?" When I learned not everyone does, it occurred to me that although I felt no real connection to my grandparents’ Hungarian heritage, this meager substance was a link, and it became my art material.  Paprika is an emblem of my immigrant background, but it also points to my distance from that past and my ambition as an artist.
 
For Assimilation Upholstery Project each chair seat was constructed on site from several pounds of sifted paprika; on the tablecloth the powdered spice clings to the pattern of the damask fabric. There is no adhesive.  The window installation is located in the Pearl of Portland, OR, once a manufacturing area, now an arts district. In small amounts paprika resembles paint pigment, in large quantities it takes on the appearance of plush velvet.  Because paprika interacts with the air and fades, it carries with it a sense of time and loss.   

I use paprika to engage the senses, confound the viewer, and to contain the contradiction of being two things at the same time, a form of unsuccessful assimilation.

 
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