Each of Carleton Watkins’ iconic mammoth plate images from the California Geological Survey depict the majesty of nature, excitement of exploration, joy of discovery and reverence for the natural environment; twenty-three of which were included in The Yosemite Book by Josiah D. Whitney (1869). Using these twenty-three images as a guide I re-imaged the scenes in order to examine the experience, perception, interpretation, analysis and categorization of space as it relates to the natural landscape.
Adopted, I never quite fit in, nor did I live anywhere long enough to feel grounded. My family moved from one US National Forest Service Station to the next. The forest became my constant, my home, my place; I feel safe here. In search of a larger world context I traced my ancestors to Finland. Upon my arrival I was overcome with emotions: love; connectedness; relief; sadness; loss, detachment and grief. The Finns use the word ‘kaiho’ to describe this hopeless binary sense of melancholic and nostalgic longing.
Ultima Thule 1991-Present
I am fascinated with the fragile sublime between physical space and the metaphysical. My self-referential forms are not real and have been emptied of all external reference, existing as a phenomenological sensation; being simultaneously a physical thing and a psychological image. Like Mark Rothko I explore the materials themselves, the inherent flatness in ephemeral moments, abject time, proximity, consequences and in my case, film, chemistry, and light.
upon green hills and ice girdled water beneath the Polar Star
Description fragments from Issac Isreal Hayes’s expedition journal Open Polar Sea represent the thrill and wonder of adventure as well as his personal exploration into the spirituality of light; where objects are simultaneously a physical thing and a psychological sensation. 8x10” silver gelatin photographic paper was exposed with these landscape descriptions and then nostalgically stacked and bound with silk ribbon. Over time, these unprocessed photographic images fade and disappear just as the projected future of the landscapes depicted.
Exploring the negative impact of “man’s need” to control the landscape I hybridize photography, biology and environmental sculpture. A negative image is placed on the environment to shape and control “Nature” as it grew within the open forms. When the negative e was removed the positive image of nature remained…until the sun reclaimed the intervention.