In my current work, I am studying the presence of landscape as a contested state of being. For me, presence and spirituality has always rooted itself in my Christian upbringing. As I continue to explore spirituality, I add models and ideas of experience from other thinkers to point to the many ways we recognize the world around us. Being aware of the history of landscape painting, I aim to re-localize landscape ideals in the contemporary world. I look at what is utilitarian and describe it in aesthetics. The idea of landscape presence is found in my materials and the delicately built surfaces. The special materials speak of the tension between their inherent properties and their associative properties.
My childhood is rooted in a quickly disappearing ideal of Midwest living. It is disappearing as we move into an information-based era that disregards the tapestries of farm fields and it is disappearing as we forget to pass down the traditions I grew up with. The presence of landscape I found as a child and saw so clearly in “the back forty” ideal is in tension with a modern way of seeing. In an artistic realm where the laws of logic are more readily influenced than in reality, I can explore a milieu of engagement, failure-to-connect, imaginative worlds, lost ideals, and motifs that explore ideas of absence, distance, loss, ghosting, integration, acceptance, and hope.
I explore techniques and materials in arrangements that create comparative formats. In some pieces this may be a drawing of a tree that holds similar tonal values to the painted world around it, but fails to exist in the same plane of reality. In another body of work I explore how to convey a landscape without a specific horizon line. In my most recent work, I am further exploring how to depict the animal in the landscape without the painted representation. I use felted wool as added sculptural elements emerging from the painted surface. Woven throughout my work, the sublime world is an experience of tension in both its beauty and its abstractions. The only living thing in the scene is simultaneously separated and integrated into the piece, just as we are so often attentive of and closed off to the landscape.