Artist statement: There are roses and light, sometimes a holy one but mostly many fluorescent lights. A market of wholesale flower sellers over 100 years old, started by 1st generation Japanese immigrants and Europeans, now run mostly by Hispanics, takes up 6 blocks of downtown Los Angeles. The Virgin Mary, or Guadalupe, I mean Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (I am still learning), she is everywhere in this place. In shrines, paintings, figurines, a maternal figure amidst the dying flowers whose dead petals are plucked off early each morning. A rebirth, a second chance for the unsold flower. The light inside is harsh and artificial; outside the southern sun is unrelenting. In the market I am a foreigner, with noises and smells and an economy all it’s own. I live in a studio three floors above but I am displaced at street level among wafting tea rose and urine odors under the ever-watchful eye of the Virgin. She sits up high and seems to go unnoticed, like the aging mother she has become. But the light and the miraculous Lazarus flowers bind her to the market, inexplicably. I don’t pretend to understand. It is a place of reverence and history, a place where hot dog trucks take up three parking spaces, where the homeless from Skid Row and party planners from Beverly Hills filter through narrow sidewalks. These contradictions and the filthy, blessed residue of the place bring me back a stranger again and again.
Makenzie Goodman (b. 1986) was raised in western Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and her MFA from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara. Her work explores human’s ties to geographic spaces and the resultant folklore and myth of American place. She utilizes medium and large format film photography practices. Goodman’s work has been exhibited and published throughout the United States and internationally.