There can be no way that people can be broken down into modest portrayals for Dexter Fernandez. Instead he provides a certain kind of abundance to them. It is true that they are straightforward and flat at first, having being shot with a camera’s automatic setting, fixed at a certain equilibrium (a 0, a center, lacking excess and nothing short of a “without -”). In fact, it is at this platform that they are made backgrounds – these photographs – of themselves. These assemblage portraits, as gestures of familiarity, are of Dexter’s friends and family – some directly and exactly associated while a number stand as incognito subjects filling in for the continents of Dexter’s world/s.

As basic universal symbols as “-”, “+” and “” are, they contain a list of what they might signify. Primarily used in mathematical equations, these symbols are selected by Dexter to layers of personality and narratives attached to his portraits. As much as the “-” sign would connote a negative quality, it can also point to the process of “subtracting” a persona – this happening in events of contradiction or when they are disproved, criticized or judged badly. This “-” sign is applied by Dexter through symbols or texts that are obviously perverse or loaded with humorous vitriol. On the other hand, “+” can point to the brighter, hopeful elements in a portrait. Likewise, it relates to the constructive “additions” Dexter attaches to these people. An “” may encompass both former signs as a footnote – that beyond deductions and additions there is still relevant data on the side, giving the context of these symbols and people themselves and in turn creates the “bigger picture.”

Dexter shows signs as process to shaping our perspective on people. From the immediacy in the shots of these people, he proceeds to etch, stitch and fit together cut outs on the photographs in a likewise fashion as he breathes visual, symbolic life into the unseen layers of their persona. An example that these symbols represent an extraneous perspective that is self-conscious is that most tend to hover in the background and around, and not stringently embedded into characters.

Certainly people cannot be encapsulated into slight representations as Dexter proves in -+*. Therefore, what makes us his portraits verging on various media of picture-making can only show the complexity of the people in close proximity to his physical space and affections as well as the certain issues of faith, socio-politics, personal progress and individual transgression they, or Dexter himself, encounter.