My artistic impetus is ecological concern and interest in human interaction with land. This interaction is two-sided: we both alter and are altered by the land. As places change, our memories waver and shift, leaving only traces of lost environments. Just as memory builds in layers, I work in layers, physically and metaphorically. Geologic strata and layers of human anatomy help me envision the planet as organism. Computer mapping systems (GIS) use layers of information to create complex interactive map images, while I compile information that burrows into my work.
While I often employ my experience in printmaking and painting, my ideas take precedence in informing my process and media. This makes my practice non-media-specific crossing into sculpture, video, and installation. I put much of my work through a cyclic process of which I am not the only part. I turn the work over to ice, water, rain, or other natural processes to remove my hand and forfeit some control. This process speaks to natural cycles of seasons and tides, while also reflecting the dynamic interaction of human and natural forces in the world.
I work within several themes, which I keep returning to over the years: energy, mapping, transport, fire, and water. While not limiting myself to those themes, I do tend to come back to them or find them somehow emerging in even my more abstract, less conceptual work.
My Burning series started as abstract explorations of color, texture, and space. I paint with energy, using brayers and brushes, and stamping with a variety of tools. I paint from memory, imagination, and photographs, blending abstraction with recognizable trees, forests, and fires. Fire works its way into the paintings, just as it is increasingly working its way into our lives (especially those of us living in the Western US). As the climate warms, we experience more and more extreme weather. Both fire season and hurricane season are growing longer and more destructive. I want viewers to feel the heat in these painted landscapes.
Altered Landscapes is a series using maps to combine dichotomous locales, create imagined landscapes, and question the representation of place via maps.
My Blue Gold Thaw series focuses on water’s role in climate change: melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and the quickening loss of this blue-gold. I use beauty, poetics, humor, and narrative to explore this issue. The work takes the form of ice – as sculpture, printmaking ink, and documented in photo and video. Using melting ice simply and directly recalls the temporal problem of melting glaciers and ice sheets. I utilize the artistic tools of beauty and humor to engage the political. I believe that a poetic approach is vital to changing societal perceptions. As philosopher Jacques Ranciére discusses, art has the power to redistribute the sensible (what is sensed: seen, heard, felt) by creating new forms and ways of seeing. It is through this redistribution of the sensible that change occurs. My photographs, sculptures, drawings and videos take on a pressing and all-encompassing issue using humor, beauty and poetics. As artist and curator Randy Jayne Rosenberg says, “Art allows us to visualize our relationship to the natural world. Art has a rich set of tools to represent our world, from irony to allegory, metaphor to humor” (1). These are the tools that have the power to change societal perceptions about climate change.
(1) Natural World Museum. Art in Action Nature, Creativity, and Our Collective Future. Minneapolis: Earth Aware Editions, 2007.