I began this work sifting through the thoughts that I have had regarding ecology, environment, and the relationship we have to our surroundings. While considered many approaches I quickly found that I had in my life a new and inspiring position out of which this work could grow. My general concern is with my relationship to a new landscape; a landscape with a pastoral history located in Appomattox, Virginia that is now my home. I moved here in August, and prior to this move hesitated beginning work for this exhibition; knowing that in order to truly address my concerns in an honest and thorough way I must respond to an environment that I have a developing relationship with.
This place, its rolling fields and patchwork forests, is a landscape filled with life and change. The fields here are home to rotating crops and the bordering forests are reclaiming those no longer used for agriculture.
I became aware immediately of this change; the succession of these landscapes and the regenerative cycles to which they are now subject. I call this place home because the landscape is what sustains me physically and aesthetically. The wind passing over the fields tells me the stories of their natural history and I listen quietly as I walk through their space. I am grateful for this new experience and I make this work out of respect for this place and its living expression of change.
There is a grass that grows up and down the narrow roads that segregate this landscape. It appears among the niches of those fields left to nature’s hand, and thus it stakes its claim. During the first few years these unattended fields become home to cultures of this grass. It is an enemy to the farming hand but to the field in hopes of returning to its once forested cover, it is the beginning of new life. It is a change invited by the cycle of nature.
My task was to remain true to my feelings regarding the theme of this exhibition: ecological responsibility. To do so I began by asking myself questions that would unearth thoughts related to this concept as well as the growing set of ideas that permeate today’s culture. I will hardly begin to elaborate on the many facets of this content however I will point out two concepts that come out of this inquiry that together shaped the work that you see in this exhibition. The first is related to resourcefulness; using what you have in a creative way and not relying on a need to acquire materials that are outside of the local landscape. In this way, any material that can be found in an unused or underutilized state has the potential to be reclaimed for use in this work. The second was rooted in today’s cultural motto found in the green sector of reduce, reuse and recycle. These two parameters gave definition to the materials selected for this work.
The form, shape and dimension of the work follow a larger pattern that appears throughout the greater body of my work. What can be seen has emerged out of a dynamic process. As I work, I am making intuitive decisions that reference intra-specific relationships of such elements as line and shape to one another. I do not desire to create a form that has a literal relationship to which the viewer is immediately subjected. My desire is to retain some sense of ambiguity in an effort to suspend, if only for a moment, the natural tendency of free association that occurs during cognition. During this moment the viewer is open to the aesthetic experience.
By omitting the need to express some literal form I am free to make and express my aesthetic in an open format. I then focus my energy on small-scale relationships as they inform one another and the greater whole. I am also free to focus on the individual actions that become the marks of my work; in this case the tying of knots and the lashing of the grass segments. For me this is where I am allowed to give back to the materials. I am giving my attention and reverential attitude. I am making an object that is a synthesis of concept, landscape and the material from which it came. I am expressing my appreciation for the local environment and the responsibility that I feel for its presence in my living experience
This work can be seen September 26th through October 26nd with a Opening Reception on October 4th @ Mayer Fine Art Gallery in Norfolk Va. on Waterside Drive.
The Smallest Footprint (ecologically responsible art)
Mayer Fine Art
Waterside Festival Hall
333 Waterside Dr.
Norfolk Va. 23510
Friday: 4pm - 8pm
Saturday: 12pm - 6pm
or by appointment