April – May 2009
Also included in OH+5 biennial exhibition
Dairy Barn Arts Center
I worry about the insustainability of the strange middle lands known as suburban America. We continue to corral, manipulate, pave over and remove our landscape. We insist on driving 8-mile-to-the-gallon SUVs as individual transportation. We have no collective sense of responsibility for the commons – because the things like clean air and water, and space to throw garbage – have always been free.
How long can we ignore the warning signs of disappearing, invasive or genetically mutated species?
The grocery-and-Walmart-bag kudzu vines climb. Nature has been anesthetized. Bottles, bags and cardboard – the evidence of human consumption and intervention – invade and take over the natural habitats of the animals, birds and plants that should be inhabiting this space, but are noticeably absent. This is a derivative of a derivative. As bottles, bags and cardboard are used, animals and plants are removed from the wild, relocated, domesticated and retrained to become new building blocks. And as the human-made objects outlive their usefulness and become invasive trash, so, too, do the flora and fauna.
My works beg to be interacted with and explored, they seek to swallow the viewer and transport him or her to a fantasy space. But like a dream space, they are both beautiful and unsubstantial, a Disneyfied replication of nature-based spaces. Plastic is attractive – but slick, difficult to digest and ultimately unsatisfying. These works imitate nature, but cannot replace nature as it disappears.
As the work is made out of recycled, reclaimed, inexpensive, unnecessary materials, it both critiques and acknowledges our complicity in the literal mountains of trash created in a throw-away society. But I still hold out hope. I have always been a Pollyanna. There can be beauty in the ugly, and the sublime in the inconsequential.