Rogers Gallery, Berea College
Dairy Barn Arts Center
included in pART & parcel: exploring the human and nature connection
My story is familiar, my worries are shared. I look across the landscape of our region and I see the shift that has been occurring. My husband is the first in five generations to leave the family farm. The farm remains but can no longer sustain a family, their income swallowed by the giant agribusiness industry. Next door, the high-dollar developments encroach upon his family’s land, so you, too, can buy a million dollar weekend cabin in the country.
I worry about the insustainability of the strange middle lands known as suburban America where we now live, where the strip mall and the lawn – that American invention and obsession – are king. We continue to corral, manipulate, pave over and remove our landscape. We fence it in or out.
We have an obsession with the perfect and the plastic. Our food, our environment and our bodies are chemically and genetically modified. The re-useable has been replaced by the throw-away. The handmade has been replaced by the mass-produced, and now that mass production is moving to China.
How long might it be before the natural, the individual, the hand-made, the small, become a memory, a museum artifact? The new nature is attractive – but slick, difficult to digest and ultimately unsatisfying.
But I wonder. Are we moving inexorably in one direction, or are we part of a cycle, a pendulum swing? Like the grass – brought by the European settlers to move in to the American landscape, now being modified out of existence
I still hold out hope. I have always been a Pollyanna. There can be beauty in the ugly, and the sublime in the inconsequential.