Lakeweeds: Silver Lake, New York (a small lake I’ve visited every summer since the year I was born), like the better-known Finger Lakes in the region, now has zebra mussels. The crawfish I used to catch under the rocks are now rare. There are less frogs and snails and more non-native aquatic plants. In Charles Elton’s Ecology of Invasion by Animals and Plants (1958), as presented by Kolbert, he explains that we are in a very diverse time now but it will create a large dull and non-diverse ecosystem over time, like multiple tanks of different solutions connected by tubes that gradually mix to form a homogenous solution in equilibrium and the biodiversity we know today will be lost.
I look at the global political environment and fear a similar fate for the diversity of our thoughts and cultures. Humans are amazing creatures. Our intelligence has created machines and systems that make an entire planet our playground. But this biological evolution: the genes that drive our emotions and favor a species that chants, ‘do more, achieve more, get more, grow more,’ is not sustainable and I wonder how immediately we will evolve to our natural limit.
Arrow of Time: May 2016- February 2017. This allowed me to process and store data in a way that made it less mentally heavy and more intuitively understood. The overall composition is inspired by mirrored black silhouettes of tall pine trees reflected on a lake: Sky, earth, water, air, and oil. The quotations and referenced sources are bits of things I read before and during the creation of this drawing, all systematically cited in the bibliography.
The Arrow of Time [1. the direction of travel from past to future in time considered as a physical dimension] is a concept developed in 1927 by the British astronomer Arthur Eddington involving the “one-way direction” or “asymmetry” of time. This direction, according to Eddington, can be determined by studying the organization of atoms, molecules, and bodies, and might be drawn upon a four-dimensional relativistic map of the world (“a solid block of paper”) Weinert, Friedel (2005). The scientist as philosopher: philosophical consequences of great scientific discoveries. Springer. p. 143
I’ve known a feeling in dreams, rare vivid dreams, where I felt more like myself than real life allows me to, maybe the most free version of me? I think this reflective landscape reaches for that dream world, where one thinks something and it becomes a part of their self, a world where everyone knows and innately cares for each other, and harm can be undone by dream magic. Physical reality falls short as the Arrow of Time points in the direction of chaos.
“If as we follow the arrow we find more and more of the random element in the state of the world, then the arrow is pointing towards the future; if the random element decreases the arrow points towards the past. That is the only distinction known to physics. This follows at once if our fundamental contention is admitted that the introduction of randomness is the only thing which cannot be undone.”
Arthur Eddington | 1928 |The Nature of the Physical World
Pigeons: My process is natural selection. The passing of time shapes everything I do. The subjects I end up focusing on have maintained my attention for months, often as a result of routine encounters with them in my environment. When I lived in Philadelphia, the pigeons entranced me. They were everywhere except high in the sky; low flying, perched on wires and roof ledges watching the road for scraps, pecking at sidewalks, grass patches, and parking lots; camping out in old wet cardboard boxes full of stale soft pretzels. Descendents of small dinosaurs, domesticated since the Bronze Age for carrying messages, these animals, with their incredible navigational ability and endurance have evolved to spend their lives watching us [humans] and waiting for our pretzels to hit the pavement. 0948, Carrier Pigeon Messages, Street Pigeons, Folded Wings, and Julia’s Curtains are the results of this fascination.
Sonoran/”I’ve been loving you too long, I don’t wanna stop now”: Something about the vastness of the desert makes me aware of our insignificance relative to it, it is empowering, primal, mystical and unknown. I crave the calm I have when looking at the desert horizon. The Anasazi lived in the cliffs, but now we sprawl out in the sun and depend on water that has to travel across the desert from Colorado. In this drawing I was meditating on the places humans do not inhabit.
As Is: I stippled a 9×12 inch piece of paper continually in my free time for 6 months. The gradual thickening of the ink and dulling of the pen nibs created the variation in the pattern which resembles both stars in the sky and particles in a microscope: a clear but inexact a-symmetrical pattern molded by the medium of time.
“in water you know when you get into it there’s nothing to hang on to”: In his lecture “Zen Bones,” Alan Watts explains “zen is a way of life, a state of being that is not possible to embrace in any concept whatsoever.” I made this drawing of a zen garden relatively fast and big with a brush and ink on a crooked piece of mylar.
Longevity and Decay: It seems life and death are two sides of the same page, held together by the same intricate stitching, though it appears differently depending on from which side you look at it. “Together the snakeskin and the aquarium made an interesting scene on the forest floor. It looked like an exhibit at a trial–circumstantial evidence–of a wild scene, as though the snake had burst through the broken side of the aquarium, burst through his ugly old skin, and disappeared, perhaps straight up in the air, in a rush of freedom and beauty.” Annie Dillard from “Untying the Knot” in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Considering Space: Many of my works revolve around how an individual, myself usually, envisions their physical place in relation to their home/neighborhood/country/planet/galaxy/universe. Because our planet is roundish, it is impossible to draw a flat image that shows Earth’s surface as it truly exists relative to space and itself. Gaston Bachelard explained that our relationship to a place changes based on our perception of that place. Considering Space is a border-lined form of stitched paper in shades of grey construction paper faded from black. The images drawn on it are based on theories of the shape of the universe and images of landforms such as rocks and islands. The photos are from discarded id cards and they fill a murky body of water.
Apartment Ceiling in Good Times: Falling asleep has never been a quick task for me at the designated sleeping hours. I can be dead tired and in much need of sleep yet find myself laying and staring at the ceiling for half an hour. The people I have shared rooms with: room mates in college, my sister, my partner, all seemed to fall asleep immediately but my mind designates this time for reflection- my whole day and world come alive with mutations, sometimes fascinating, beautiful and full of hope- others terrifying and unnatural and from a place it seems I’ve never known but appear to me at bedtime – the components of dreams and yet I remain awake. If I cannot hold my eyes shut, this malleable world unfolds across the apartment ceiling.
Will to Life or Something Like It: Oil spills, horizons, feathers and bones. An angel or demon visits a deserted cliffside beach inhabited only by skeletons. I was reading Arthur Schopenhauer’s, The World as Will and Idea.
Will to Life; Component Key: The components of Will to Life include; sky, ocean, ground water, sand, beach, cliff rock, oil, coal, sulfur, bones and feathers.
Good Luck Cheer: I made this poster for a friend’s band before they went on tour as a good luck charm because there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the means of transportation and some of the destinations at which they would be playing. I employed the image of a cheerleader to instill a boost of confidence upon the group. She is accompanied by a small Chihuahua dog king and the Mexican volcano god and goddess, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, atop the Great Wall of China.
Colonial Spelling Blank: I set out to make a book with a collection of small blank blue books I found at an antique store in Newark, Delaware. They were printed sometime in the 1950s and I treasured the serial numbers stamped on the front, the quality of the ink print, the faded blue covers, the perfect faintly lined pages and the imperfect assembly. When I considered what to write within the book, it seemed only practical for recordings of some sort, medicinal recipes, collections, recordings of individuals and I began to think of “witches” in colonial time, or those deemed witches and the title of the blue books took on a new meaning… Colonial Spelling Blank. I still did not have the words for a spell or medicinal remedy and did not want to fake it so I made the drawing Without the Words to express the feeling of femininity, mysticism and misunderstanding. The spiked spiral on the cover, utilized throughout Without the Words expresses a natural order and methodical unfolding of mysticism and spellbinding.
Galactic Theatre: While making Galactic Theatre, I was simultaneously reading Annie Dillard’s, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” and Robert Osserman’s, “Poetry of the Universe: A Mathematical Exploration of the Cosmos.” I was entirely captivated and overwhelmed by the idea that chlorophyll and hemoglobin look identical under a microscope (excepting their color), that both a big bowl of noodles and a knotted snakeskin could stand as a memento mori and represent infinity, that the universe may be in the shape of a common fruit and that we may exist entirely as a thought. Osserman explains that we try to represent earth with visual maps but the proportions cannot accurately portray a 3D shape like Earth, let alone the 4D and imaginary shapes that may compose the universe. Galactic Theatre is my humble attempt to map all the intricacies of a universe.
Relative Spectacle: In any game you need a strategy; to find the net, tackle your obstacles, navigate across vast terrain, and, ultimately, escape. In ‘Relative Spectacle,’ I organized new knowledge: paper airplane models, fishing knots and an emotional longing intertwined with an aggressive desire to just tackle someone. I arranged these components within an Italian soccer arena and labeled them as a board game. I attempted to recognize that I will not change the course of the world, but I will continue to be a part of it.
New World General Map and Weather: I drew this in my Delaware basement as Hurricane Sandy devastated nearby highly populated coasts of New Jersey, New York and Delaware. As water and wind misplaced multitudes of people, I considered the individual ideologies that compose America, the culture of various places in what was so recently established as “the new world.”. I considered what our country would look like in allegory. What if as the tides rise individuals align themselves with larger groups, in what often seems like blind follower-ship. If the water rose to the point that the function of every landmass changed, underwater cities, Appalachian ports, reoccupied ghost towns; how would any one group of individuals operate?
Tricksters: In Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth, Archangel Satan writes letters back to his fellow archangels to communicate his hilarious observations of human contradictions in faith and behavior. I wondered what Satan would take away from observing us today, and envisioned a maze of cubicles.
“1900” Italian Sausage: Reflecting on the lost proximity of humans to the animals we eat, particularly pigs, as it was in Italy at the turn of the century, sewing the pig parts together as food. Upon watching this happen on screen in Bertolucci’s film, “1900” I had an immediate desire to feel what it would be like to sew the pig flesh of a pig you knew well that was alive moments before into old fashioned sausage- but I didn’t want to actually slaughter a pig.
Starling Catswamp, Cartographer: This was about contact with the earth’s surface and the surface of skin as it rises and falls with everything that lives, crawls, slithers and dies on it (with special attention on dinosaurs, snakes, and armored beetles).
Small Works Gallery: These are small pieces inspired by the individuals they were given to. Making something for someone is the most simple for me.
Fleaves: creatures born into the outlines of dead autumn leaves. Curling crunchy dead critters bounce and straggle across the grass.
The Georgia Series: observations from a couple weeks of taking my time, wandering around Athens and Savannah, Georgia, recording what I saw, heard and encountered.
Pasture: I’ve grown up going to a small lake in rural Western New York every summer of my life. Wyoming County; where there are more cows than people, the main crop is cattle corn, the lakes are rich with fertilizer and runoff causes the seaweed to grow as tall as the lake surface. The skies are blue with towering puffy white clouds perfectly spaced like the cows in this work. The roads have names like Suckerbrook, Oatka and Traber. The earth, air, clouds, many cows and simple rolling vistas crowd my consciousness as synonymous with reflection, restlessness, and a check point at every chapter of my life. I can cry at the sight of this county’s valley, especially at dusk. Making these cows served as a way to explore my own sensitivity. I stitched them together in the fashion that my grandmother stitched the edge of fleece blankets and leftover Christmas cards to make holiday place-mats.
Kittencone: a nickname once bestowed upon me by a good friend. I have a particular fondness for compound-word-names; Cashdollar, Lovecamp, Lightcap, Weatherwax, Potterfield and Catswamp just to name a few. I find the simplicity of these immediate visuals mentally refreshing.