Folds of Time
The landscape is one of the few places where you can perceive time. It is from landscapes that we have come to create maps as a means of understanding and navigating the space we exist in. By using the landscape as a platform, I create fantastical settings through a collection of spaces and places that merge from across time. As the fabricator of an alternative cartography, my work maps humanity’s existence within the vastness of geological time. The work balances between abstraction and depiction. Marks and colors create initial moods of playfulness, while structures and other rendered features stand as familiar markers of human existence and experience. These fictional landscapes are a compendium of my personal interpretation of the external world. The human world is a short and incredibly powerful force when compared to the slowness and vastness of geological time. It is through this lens that I find my content. These landscapes are not a mirror, reflecting our human existence back to us, but are instead duplications of our existence where the perceptions of time and space have been disrupted and expanded.
When beginning a work, I often do not construct any preliminary plans, knowing very little about the final outcome of the piece. In this way, I am a creator, yet also an observer, feeling excitement with the process as changes occur. I begin to lay in thin washes of acrylic paint on canvas stretched over five feet in either direction. Using large brushes, cloth rags and water or oil, depending on the medium, I fill the canvas with various colors from a premixed palette. I enjoy the unfolding of shapes and marks as I work, adding and subtracting. I then react to them, pulling out particular features while covering others, as areas often found in traditional landscapes begin to take shape. Bodies of water, rolling hills and mountains, cliffsides and sky, are then revealed further with thicker applications of paint. I smooth out soft gradients of color with blending brushes, defining slopes, open land masses and sky. Other areas are contrasted with an uneven, rough texture from boar bristle brushes and pallet knives. As I work around the canvas, particular areas remain in the primary state of thin, washy color that wasinitially applied, while others are built upon. These various stages of painting are informed by the unpredictable processes that happen in the earth over eons, creating layers of substance and change. The various textures found within the paintings create a simultaneous flatness and depth across the composition. The colors are often bold and complementary between the synthetic and organic. Familiar shades of grassland emeralds are juxtaposed with vivid, electric pinks and pale minty greens. Ghostly ivory vibrates next to a midnight, star filled sky. I then pull certain areas forward and others into recess by applying gestural highlights and lowlights, creating a play of light sources. Color, mark, and shape create a rhythm that coalesce into a variety of environments that I then define spatially with tiny, rendered structures.
The landscapes that I create are intended to provoke contemplation on time and existence. By drawing upon literature, mythological narratives, philosophy and research into the sciences, I pull together ideas on the nature of reality, which are then reinterpreted into a multitude of scenes within one composition. This multiplicity disrupts one’s perception of time and space. These works are unfamiliar maps, pulling the viewer from their ordinary, pedestrian human sphere and placing them on a vista to explore time. There is a dichotomy taking place in these works between the human experience and the vast expanse of geological time. Tiny structures can be found in nearly all of my work. These recognizable human-made structures serve as symbols of the powerful and lingering changes we have generated upon these immensely aged spaces, during our short time here. On a formal level, these structures also serve to orient the viewer, as keys in the legend of a map, allowing them to grasp a sense of scale, and therefore a sense of time.