Preliminary preparations for experiencing nature begin with the ritualistic slathering of sunscreen and bug spray. Humans have a curious relationship to nature: fetishizing it, respecting it, controlling it and destroying it.
Deep Woods is a show named for a bug spray but also asks questions about the depth of our interface with the natural world. The ceramics and paintings are inspired by personal interactions with people and places in the natural world. The ceramic pieces are functional flower vases and drinking vessels that are facsimiles of the things we use to insulate our body against external and internal discomfort: bug spray, sunscreen and alcohol. I think of these bottles as future fossils. They are made to look like they have been excavated from a landfill. Their surfaces sport a sunbaked patina and are experiencing a second growth as flora has begun to overtake the calcified surfaces of their former plastic armor.
The paintings address these contradictions as well. The grid and row of small color-saturated paintings are displayed sequentially—the result of a daily painting practice this summer. They are unabashedly dazzling, romantic color studies of places near my home in the Hudson Valley, NY and Cape Cod, MA. Two locations that for 150 years have inspired romantic, patriotic and colonialist landscape paintings.
Other paintings take a more sinister turn. "Palisades" considers the microplastics in our water supply through small abrasions on the painting's surface that reveal layers of color below. This act is a painterly consideration of the pollutants that lay below the surface and are not readily available to the human eye. The majority of the surface of the painting of this Hudson River viewshed is executed in a nearly toxic red and green glow. "Ghost Fox," was painted after recently seeing a roadkill fox kit on a summer's eve drive home. "Septuagenarian Skinny Dippers," depicts an older carefree couple, swimming naked with no physical shield from the environment. Their age liberates them from the vanity of youth, as well as from the concerns of water quality in the future. "Suburban Basement Snakes" was made after seeing my childhood neighbor's mancave—a safe haven for seven exotic snakes, guarded by a lifetime of rock-n-roll collectibles.
This show brings together figurative and landscape-based artwork, as a continuation of my investigation of the social and environmental impact of our built environment through the endlessly wily chromatic possibilities of painting and ceramics.