Biodiscourse Untitled (Oak, est. age 164 years) Hurricane Sandy, Central Park, Manhattan New York mixed media 53" x 41"
For the artist, each artwork documents the life and death of a tree, sometimes spanning more than 500 years. Each artwork is also a record of a social event or a natural catastrophe ultimately resulting in the end of the tree’s life. Concurrently, these artworks celebrate the lives of trees from California, Oregon, Louisiana and New York, while documenting the devastation left behind by historic storms such as Hurricane Sandy 2012, and Hurricane Katrina, 2005. Additionally, some trees felled by timber companies represent legal standoffs between police and protestors. I became acquainted with the temporal language of the natural world when I was a kid. Exploring creek beds, peeling back layers of shale in search of trilobites, I found a record of loss. An anfractuous world buried inside the world. Experiences of excavation and examination saturated my formative years and later gave impetus to research in the fields of dendroclimatology and dendrochronology. Research, both on and off-site, is as integral to my artistic practice as intuition and impulse. Working primarily in collage, – maps, architectural blueprints, billboard fragments – and pair discarded objects with relics of the anthropocene to pose questions about hierarchies of value. The notions of separateness that allow for natural resource exploitation are themes I continually explore, as are pliant concepts of surfeit and scarcity. Drawing influence from Max Ernst’s frottages, my large-scale collage work incorporates rubbings from the surfaces of old-growth tree stumps felled for timber in the Pacific Northwest. I assemble scraps of found ephemera into large sheets, which are later overlain with rubbings to reveal a cosmology of growth rings. For a time, I collected materials while driving through the forests of Northern California and Oregon in a decommissioned ambulance. I converted the ambulance to run on waste vegetable oil, which I scavenged for in dark, rubbish-thronged alleys behind Japanese restaurants. (People would sometimes approach the ambulance to ask if I had Band-Aids; a nod, I suppose, to the performative element at play).