I am interested in the point where human psychology and nature meet both with respect to myself and others. Rather than manipulate nature, I am interested in understanding how we identify as nature and where biology and art making overlap. So I am most satisfied when there is a transparency to the work, where nature and human nature are indistinguishable, and there is a self- awareness of “biologically belonging to the world”.
The symbols in my images are the expression of a primitive, ancient, unconscious mind. The symbols reflect the broadest definition of nature. The plant-life imagery are symbols that reflect the beauty and growth of nature while the trapezoid symbols reflect nature as decay and death. If I am nature, if we are nature and follow it’s instinctive impulses than what can we do to think and behave organically?
In 2015 I began planting trees in the wetlands of Lincoln, Rhode Island as an empathic/existential response to the earth. Actually, I had done my first planting piece as an undergraduate many years before. This new work developed into planting trees in historical graveyards in northern Rhode Island. The historical graveyard plantings speak to timeless, organic, growing/decaying life cycles that are found in all life forms including human. The tree planting makes sense both with regard to the grave markers themselves which were marking time and loss and planting Dwarf Alberta Spruce trees also marking loss and remaining roughly human size during there slow growing period. I check in on the health of my tree-marker plantings from time to time, in a number of years I should have human size trees inhabiting the graveyards of northern R.I. . This rogue tree planting is deeply satisfying, I feel complete and, in some small way, I am left with a feeling of having connected with the earth. Three White Pine trees have been planted in Madison Square Park, New York, N.Y. in the fall of 2019. The tree planting stopped during the pandemic but is returning this spring.
The 2018 Tree Farm exhibit at University of Rhode Island Project Space is an extension of the Planting Project. I brought small Dwarf Spruce trees into the gallery so that guests/students might take a tree with them to plant somewhere of their choosing. On the gallery walls were my paintings and photos of trees and other plant life that reflected the more internal side of my process. As URI students planted these trees from my exhibit I could see that “social sculpture” projects will be very appealing to me as an extension of my own rogue tree planting but remembering it’s source was my biological identity with the earth.