Last week I finished smoke-shaped forest, which continues a series reflecting on the simultaneous gains and losses associated with 200 acres of land being cleared adjacent to my parent’s property outside of Charleston, SC. Â In such cases waste wood and plowed stumps are often stacked up and burned, and they create an eerily beautiful sight at dusk in that thick southern air. Â Anyone who has ever sat around a campfire knows the seduction of staring into the coals, a kind of primal reverie of thought and thoughtlessness, comfort and fear, and the clear insistence of a light in the darkness.
broadleaf plantain with clover is the first in what I believe will be a series of edible wild plant paintings, most of which can be quickly located in urban environments. Â These are works about the act of foraging, which is another way of seeking a depth of experience outside of the dominant culture. Â But they also raise questions regarding patterns of recognition and the problems associated with the indirect transfer of knowledge. Â One of the classic problems of depicting plants is the method of depicting a “representative sample”. Â That is, the collection or photographic documentation of a single plant does not account for the inevitability of variation, and this creates a reservoir of doubt. Â Paintings are effective in communicating some types of specificity, but often at the expense of others. Â The payoff of this more “scenic” method, in my mind, is that it describes more fully a set of relationships within a given habitat. Â And just as my front lawn establishes criteria for fruitfulness, so does the limited context of my panel.
grackle with smartweed and clover keeps up the thematic approach to ground-cover, and the act of looking down as a move out of the demands of the body and into the life of the mind. Â Because the bird’s eye is denied to the viewer as a point of reference, the grackle straddles a space between life and death.