New York, New York
David D. Oquendo developed a personal constructed script called “Metaphrase”. This series includes large-scale wall renderings, mixed media paintings and paper, as well as sculptures. The artwork explores the artist’s ideas and questions of his identity and language. Each letter of “Metaphrase” is a system that has been influenced by Textualis Quadrata, Eastern-Kufic, Hebrew calligraphy and Taino. Oquendo’s work is primarily influenced by his mentor Denyse Thomasos; secondary influences are Paul Antonio Attong, and CRYPTIK.
The genesis of Oquendo’s artwork is autobiographical. He was diagnosed with a learning disability as a child - causing difficulty in speech, comprehension, translation and writing. At a very young age David has been fascinated by language due to his frequent struggle with it. Oquendo believes that language is not only about communicating with one another, it is also a tool to develop meaning in the world around us. Language allows him to categorize, and to normalize; it allows him to look at multifaceted ideas and simplify it.
Language also allows David to build a sense of self, a sense of security and comfort in his own being. It lets him believe that we are in fact someone in particular, someone unique. Of all the possibilities language can offer, it is also limiting. It doesn’t allow him to articulate the entirety of existence and therefore fails to alleviate his fear of it.
This failure of language, especially language beautifully displayed, to mitigate his fearful fascination of existence is a major theme in “Metaphrase”.