I draw to explore ideas about land and how it is altered through time. I contemplate history and seek stories of change which come about from a wide range of processes, including human interactions. The compositions rely on cropping and scale changes in part to convey my emotional and physical response to these places and in part to create ambiguity for the viewer regarding their relationship to the scene in front of them. I build up layers of lines and shapes to hint at transformation. The marks symbolize a memory of time that is woven within earth’s layers of growth, accretion and decay.
My current series focuses on ice cores, glaciers and ice sheet. Ice is a beautiful metaphor for the deep memory of the natural world and the frailty of our planets ecosystems. It offers symbolic stories of the planet and our effect on that story through millennia. This work explores the micro scale of ice cores and the macro scale of the ice sheets and glaciated environments of West Antarctica and the Pacific Northwest. The compositions rely on cropping and scale changes in part to convey my emotional and physical response to these places and in part to create ambiguity for the viewer regarding their relationship to the scene in front of them.
I had discussions with several glaciology scientists that evolved into a collaborative relationship with two specific projects; The WAIS Divide Ice Core Project in West Antarctica and the Mt Waddington Ice Core Project in British Columbia. I began by drawing ice cores, kept in freezers, dissected by scientists. I gazed into these clear columns and desperately tried to draw the few visible variations. I looked at high resolution images of ice, glaciers and radar measurements of ice sheets. The resulting Ice Series prints are my specimens, revealing what fascinated my eye and mind.
I went into nearby mountains to sleep beside glaciers, to look at patterns of flow and collapse. The Northwest Glacier paintings were built up from detailed pencil drawings with broader strokes of ink to describe movement. As I journeyed into the larger, whiter spaces of Antarctica my materials changed to accommodate this shift. Pencil and ink marks gave way to larger areas of gesso and paint washes.
My home in Seattle sits in a basin carved by an ice sheet very similar to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. An expanse of time is the only thing that separates these environments. The ice sheet grew layer by layer over millennia, encasing dusts from volcanic outbursts, savannah fires, and droughts. This tome lies silently collecting our behaviors as well, misguided explorers, Hiroshima, disappearing forests and spikes in carbon.
The ice fields are massive, full of detailed information and utterly blank. Our lives, so full of stories and memories, are the same. We begin and end in a blank. Watching the drifts of snow on the West Antarctic plateau wipe clean our efforts to carve out a space again and again was humbling and reassuring. No manner of engineering can argue with the slow flow of ice to sea.