As I have been working through writing an artist statement and updating things like biography and CV, I’ve had to go back and take a good hard look at my own work.
Why am I attracted to or challenged to paint the images that I choose to paint? I think the main thing I have come to realize is that humans have a massive impact on our world. The Earth is deeply challenged by our constant barrage of garbage, pollution and intrusions we call “earth works”.
Building dams and levees and attempting to redirect rivers and other water ways really doesn’t do anything but hurt us in the end. Concrete and asphalt everywhere is suffocating the Earth. In addition, the ingredients of asphalt come from deep inside the earth and really wasn’t meant to be out on the surface. We cut down entire forests and jungles, clear land for cities, endless suburban shopping centers and housing units. We seem to have no concept of the damage we do but look only at how, for the immediate future, these assaults on the Earth benefit us as consumers. We fancy ourselves as conquers of the Earth.
I am as guilty of supporting these actions as everyone else. But I’m also feeling the guilt. Something not everyone does. In my art I hope to preserve both nature and track some of the ways we damage the Earth and record some ways that the Earth is fighting back and reclaiming places we have abandoned. Even as we actively create chaos, I notice the weeds pushing up through the cracks of the sidewalks and the raccoons and opossum and coyotes adapting to life in the city. It’s rather reassuring to me.
This old road, like many, was literally carved out of the woods connecting farm fields and then further on, connecting larger paved roadways. I see how nature continues to carve out around the roots of the trees and those trees will eventually fall across the road and block it for a while. It’s branches and trunk will be chopped up and left on the side of the road and slowly dissolve with the help of termites, ants, fungus, rotting leaves and rain and create new, fresh soil where a new tree will someday grow.
Or maybe the tree will be allowed to lay across the road and the road no longer used and slowly, new trees and plants will grow up through the old gravel and pavement and provide homes and food for wild critters.