As an artist, I am committed to working in the realm of Beauty as a willful act of resistance against and a place of solace within the contemporary roil of fear, anger, and disregard.
My project, ANIMAL LAND, reveals and celebrates an insistent, feral beauty right here where we live within this heavily developed, densely populated section of East Coast Corridor. My intention for ANIMAL LAND is to seduce viewers to recognize and treasure surprising ecological systems thriving close at hand, vulnerable to human forces, and in urgent need of vigilant safekeeping.
ANIMAL LAND willfully traffics in the Romantic sublime, that sensual experience of natural beauty intensified by awe and dread. In the eighteenth century, awe and dread arose with a deep perception of human smallness in the face of Nature’s mighty grandeur. Think Wordsworth and his poem “Tintern Abbey”. Two hundred twenty years later, we again encounter Nature with dread and awe, but today our astonishment is of our own out-of-control power. We fear for Nature’s fragility; we are overwhelmed by the scope of humankind’s supremacy.
The otherworldly imagery of ANIMAL LAND is realized through darkroom printing, exploiting the visual vocabulary of hand-worked 19th century photographic processes combined with vagaries of low-resolution files from high-tech, night-vision digital trail cameras.
ANIMAL LAND was developed during my year as Artist-in-Residence at Virginia Commonwealth University Rice Rivers Center. Drawing initially from photos collected for biodiversity research in City of Richmond’s James River Park System by biologist Anne Wright, ANIMAL LAND’s scope expanded to incorporate pictures of night life in my own neighborhood along an important tributary of the James River. Special thanks to Anne Wright, Science in the Park, and VCU Rice Rivers Center for allowing use of James River Park System research photo files in my work.
Candela Gallery featured ANIMAL LAND in a solo show May/June 2017, and presented selections at AIPAD The Photography Show in NYC and Current Art Fair in Richmond VA.