“Given what I now know about this land and this culture, death-of the tragic, untimely sort-seems more or less central to everything here. It’s what makes a visit to this coast as exhausting as it is exhilarating: beauty and death, inseparably bound, in states utterly extreme.”
For me the experience of living in Southern Louisiana has been a process of learning to see. Initially this landscape of swimming trees and bearded limbs seemed artificial, a landscape so unfamiliar that anything could seem normal. Over the years I have learned to identify some of the trees, many of the birds and have gained an understanding of the complexities of this watery world. With this knowledge comes a new sight, a comprehension of the links and possibilities within an ecosystem. I have also begun to recognize when the links are broken, when a marsh exists in a space that should contain a cypress swamp.
I began to realize that virtually all of the waterways I was canoeing were man made oil canals and that the strange lips that I thought were healthy sediment deposits were in fact spoil banks. Similar to Mike Tidewell’s revelation when first experiencing Cajun culture, I began to understand that no landscape in Louisiana is untouched and most are altered to be unrecognizable or extinct shadows of their former selves. Canceled Edition is my visual dirge to these relationships, and as we go marching into the Anthropocene this show throws light on the consequences of extraction.
Similar to many of the subjects of my work, printmaking is an endangered art. As technology sweeps away the human hand, printmaking, the original disseminator of the written word, languishes in the shadows of its former glory. This installation is hand printed from every feather and hair even down to the specimen labels on the Ivory Billed Woodpeckers in Cancled Edition. Utilizing screenprint, woodcut, and thousands of hours of process, I embrace the past and construct my future.
I hope this show gives you pause and time to consider what in this world matters most to you.