When There Were Many
“Given what I now know about this land and this culture, death-of the tragic, untimely sort-seems more or less central to everything here. It’s what makes a visit to this coast as exhausting as it is exhilarating: beauty and death, inseparably bound, in states utterly extreme.”
For me the experience of living in Southern Louisiana has been a process of learning to see. Initially this landscape of swimming trees and bearded limbs seemed artificial, a landscape so unfamiliar that anything could seem normal. Over the years I have learned to identify some of the trees, many of the birds and have gained an understanding of the complexities of this watery world. With this knowledge comes a new sight, a comprehension of the links and possibilities within an ecosystem. I have also begun to recognize when the links are broken, when a marsh exists in a space that should contain a cypress swamp.
I began to realize that virtually all of the waterways I was canoeing were man made oil canals and that the strange lips that I thought were healthy sediment deposits were in fact spoil banks. Similar to Mike Tidewell’s revelation when first experiencing Cajun culture, I began to understand that no landscape in Louisiana is untouched and most are altered to be unrecognizable or extinct shadows of their former selves. When There Were Many is my visual dirge to these relationships, and as we go marching into the Anthropocene this show throws light on the consequences of extraction.
Similar to many of the subjects of my work, printmaking is an endangered art. As technology sweeps away the human hand, printmaking, the original disseminator of the written word, languishes in the shadows of its former glory. This exhibit celebrates printmaking with every bird hand printed and the males head hand painted in When There Were Many. Utilizing screenprint, woodcut, and thousands of hours labor and hand cutting I embrace the past and construct my future.
I hope this show gives you pause and time to consider what in this world matters most to you.