Current Body of Work
The earth is constantly changing. With the toll that humans are taking on the planet, nature seems to be defending itself with geological extremes – fire and water. Nothing has made me more aware of this than the repeated flooding of my own hometown. Humanity has tried its best to create solid, unchanging cityscapes to safely house the growing population, but at a certain point, nature always seems to take back what is rightfully hers.
Being a homegrown Ellicott City girl, I have struggled hard with the idea of losing any part of the historic district, just five minutes down the road from my childhood home. I started dissecting the town in my head, imagining whole buildings floating on their own, washed away. How could we purposely tear this place apart, after its been here so long?
But the earth has already started to do that. Too much concrete – where is the water supposed to go? Over the last year this body of work has been my way of coping with the idea of that change. Painful, but necessary. But change isn’t only here – fires in California are erasing even more of the human landscape than the water is, here in our little town. In these tumultuous times, Earth can be a very violent place, might as well try and make something beautiful rise out of the ashes and mud.
Previous Body of Work
The relationship between landscape and architectural structure is a complex one. Humans created buildings to ultimately provide one basic function: shelter. The desert of the American southwest presents a unique situation in this regard. The architecture here not only protects inhabitants from the harsh climate, in many cases it also opens up to the landscape by way of large, pane-less windows that bring the landscape in, while keeping the heat out. My work explores the tension created from this visual divide between man and nature. It reflects my experience living for three years in the Arizona desert.
I use a combination of installation and 2D works to mimic, but also stretch and manipulate the relationship between a viewer and their surroundings. The focus is on the architectural structure of the window, situating the viewer apart from a natural “beyond.” By using layers of paint, collaged layers of paper, and forced visual perspective in the case of installations, I create a visual divide between the spectator and their subject. The painted landscape, a beautified and idyllic image of what we think nature is, lies just beyond our reach – visible but also obstructed and inaccessible. The intimate architectural space now creates a complex barrier from a much wider outside universe. Oriented within this space, the viewer is asked to evaluate their own relationship to the land and sky surrounding them beyond the walls. Through this work, I question whether we can truly consider ourselves a part of nature anymore.