Within the reel of memories that captures my life, one thing is consistent: the most clear, awesome and emotional memories are of wild natural spaces, ones that are magical in their light, atmosphere and depth—ones that I yearn to return to. Consequently, my art-making springs from the innate desire to explore, discover, and push boundaries. This basic human urge results in both extreme impacts on the environment, and for many, a profound love of nature.
Most recently I have been interested in investigating both direct (first hand; outdoors) and mediated (via social media; Facebook; Instagram) experiences with nature. The time I have spent in the outdoors has led to my questioning of these first hand experiences, and what happens when we are brought out of the woods and begin experiencing the natural world through a smartphone, television or computer. My watercolors are an important part of investigating light, shadow and color on the landscape; whereas in my larger pieces in acrylic and oil, I flush out more specific conceptual elements related to these ideas. In all of my current work, I stop to consider the extraordinary realities of humans in a contemporary environment, and what this means for the future of our ecosystems.
By playing with image formatting that is reflective of Instagram-style images and experimenting with use of local and invented color, I create paintings that are meant to seem familiar yet foreign. I want the viewer to feel an intimacy with the place I am presenting, while at the same time feel distant from it and unable to locate it in real space. I aim for this tension between what is familiar and what is strange to illicit emotion and contemplation. In Yosemite Wildfire (1 and 2), and Smoke Storm, Martis Valley, I use atmosphere and light to draw the viewer into what could be a beautiful sunset, but is in fact a wildfire or smoke storm. This trickery is representative of the illusionary quality of our image culture fed through social media, one that fosters normalcy around extraordinary things, and distances us from the realities of our world, the state of the environment included.