“…As more individuals are produced than can possibly survive, there must in every case be a struggle for existence, either one individual with another of the same species, or with the individuals of distinct species, or with the physical conditions of life”
Charles Darwin, Origin of Species
The subjects of my work are in the throes of battle. The continuation of their own lives and their progeny are at stake. Such is the daily life of all carbon-based life forms.
The twisted limbs, cypress knees, knotted roots, burls, saplings, fungi, lichen, and rotting wood are visually specific evidence of the history and life of these organisms, their reactions to their surrounding environments, and interactions with each other. The profundity of these subjects is that each move or gesture they make is permanent and often visible, and what they do next must build directly upon the last move. Every action they have made in their lives is apparent in their posture. Every injury is recorded in the bark, their growth is recorded by their rings, and snaking roots and limbs are evidence of slow maneuvering around obstacles.
I discover these subjects in their natural environment and document my findings through photography and field drawings. I then recreate the figures with paint and organize them together in an imagined ecosystem. The painting process mimics the process of the botanical growth and production; each mark that I make is permanent, though some may be later covered by other marks, it is necessary that the next must build upon the previous, thus the entire history is visibly recorded.
The landscapes I create become a nonlinear narrative as the subjects take on anthropomorphic gestures, and become even more bodily through abstraction. The connection between the human and botanical struggles for life, success, and procreation become more apparent, and the struggles are reflected in the works and in the very process of creating the paintings.