The Last American Landscape: Waiting for a Development represents a new body of work within the Drawn & Quartered series. The project is part of an ongoing investigation of the future of the environment at the edge of expanding urban development. In The Last American Landscape, through which I unite diverse, but contiguous farm fields in one-point perspective with a shared horizon, I attempt to unpack the nature of the way patterns work: socially, culturally, and visually.
In my artist statement for Drawn & Quartered, I introduce George Perkins Marsh, who in 1864 published his seminal work, Man and Nature, later reissued as The Earth as Modified by Human Action. Using the developing landscape to illustrate his message, Marsh described not only human nature's proclivity to abuse the land, but also humanity's capacity to restore it. My work explores both.
In The Last American Landscape, I attempt to place the work in the center of Marsh's two-fold thesis by creating a neutral visual format of bilateral symmetry. A single vanishing point anchors each landscape. Around this stable center radiates repeating patterns of row and furrow, carved into the soil by generations of American farmers. In a not-too-distant future, suburban expansion may bring yet another pattern to the site with the development of homes, neighborhood, and community, all living out respective "Family Stories" and searching for cultural authenticity and identity, again "in the ordinary places of life."
Each individual work measures 21 x 42 inches and the installation of nine, 67 x 130 inches. The project includes over twenty different materials, including dry pigments, powdered graphite, graphite and colored pencils, pastel, straw, earth, acrylic gel, acrylic and oil washes, gesso, pumice, mica flakes, ground Mylar, iron oxide, stainless steel particles, watercolor, and vine and synthetic charcoal.
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