When we have shuffled off this mortal coil—from Hamlet
This nascent project is about the tension between mortality and the resilient permanence of nature. I convey this in images of my father, his drawings, and the natural elements in a forested landscape. I juxtapose his life's work - which will endure beyond him - to the perennial cycles of nature.
In 2014, my then 78 year old father, an architect, bought a plot of forested land in the Berkshires to leave as a legacy for his children and our offspring. The Berkshires were formed over half a billion years ago when Africa collided with North America, pushing up the Appalachian Mountains.
Although my father's paintings and drawings will live beyond his lifespan, in the homes of collectors, books and museums, it is the forest’s plants, animals, and microbes that will survive, adapt, diversify, and proliferate well beyond any of us - season after season, century after century -- in graceful ignorance of the frenetic human struggle for immortality.
Working with local biologists who utilize scientific dating techniques to determine the age of our forest’s flora and fauna, I elucidate the bio-history of this land and situate my mortal father in the arc of the eternal.
Each image taken in the forest requires a long exposure setting as they are taken at dusk or at night to capture the liminal space of light, which may also result in subtle to obvious states of motion.
The photographs of the drawings and paintings produced by my father in this series are from his Temple Island project about perspective and nostalgia. I selected these particular works to correlate his romanticized memories with what his grandchildren may come to feel about this natural wonderland with its sparkling streams.
What happens when our children grow up more familiar with the artificial worlds created from pixels and electrons than the forest kingdoms and Terabithias that so many of us knew in our youth?
In the images, installations, and video I’ve produced for this series, I sublimated my impotent frustrations over my son's desire to constantly be tethered to his phone or to play video games by reframing his activities in a context of forests and fields, not sitting in front of his computer. To pull the curtain back on my son’s early teen-hood, would be to reveal him rigorously engaged in a world of electronic gadgets.
I must admit, I too, spend a lot of time on my smartphone and tablet. Yet shouldn’t we be spending more time experiencing nature? I know this inherently, and can turn to science to back this primal knowledge: recent studies reveal the importance of connecting with the natural world, beginning in the early years, to ensure social, emotional, and physical health.
Within the space of a few decades, the way children understand and experience the natural world has changed dramatically. Even as teenagers become more aware of global threats to the environment, their physical contact and intimacy with nature is fading. Urban, suburban, and even rural parents cite a number of reasons why their children spend less time in nature than they themselves did, including disappearing access to natural areas, and competition from television and computers.
In Mother:Nature I present an alternate version of my son's childhood that speaks to underlying fears of the natural world; anxieties that come about as a direct result of competing technological experiences over being outdoors, and urban planning that has left out communal safe spaces for kids to explore and connect with nature.
Five Thousand Two Hundred and Ninety Five Frames Older
Sutures: Stories with Seams
“Trust me, I'm telling you stories. ... I can change the story. I am the story.” – Novelist Jeanette Winters [Written on the Body]
Influenced by my background in film editing and painting, I join imagery together to create a connection between reality and fabrication in the form of vignettes that star friends, family, and myself -- in single or double frames. The "characters" become the subject of one still; the complementary image is a forsaken place, symbolizing our collective history and the relationship we have to the physical spaces we inhabit.
Though the work is extremely intimate, it is meant to function on many levels, as the specific becomes the general. In this body of work, I attempt to capture the elusive nature of the personal narrative: feelings of fear and joy; disappointment and hope; longing, desire, and attainment.
I used a variety of cameras for this project: 35mm, medium format film, DSLRs.All prints are digital C-Prints on Fugi-flex paper. Diptychs are 24x30. Single images are of varying sizes. Edition of 5 per diptych/image + artist proof