Harbinger: Stories from a Burning Planet
Can profound loss contain within it solace, or even beauty? How might such a dichotomy be reconciled, if at all? As our planet spins precariously closer to climate disasters that cannot be undone, these questions loom large. Like the sentient trees in Richard Powers’ Overstory, or the living rock in Robert McFarlane‘s Underland, I believe there are stories that arise out of loss to reveal heartbreaking beauty, waiting to be heard despite our recklessness, and perhaps even as a response to it.
A mid-career photographer with a works on paper background, I have leveraged three decades of photographic inquiry to inform a drawing practice that engages the photograph and expands its narrative power in new directions.
I have selected recent photographic works to reconstruct as large-scale, photo-charcoal artworks. To begin, a “ghost photo” is printed on uncoated printmaking paper: a 21st century iteration of monochromatic underpainting pioneered by Italian Renaissance artists some 500 years ago.
Willow branches, kiln-fired and transformed through heat and flame into black carbon, are spread out across the surface of a photographic image in an effort to render texture and temperature, to locate solace amidst loss. Thus the materials mirror the concerns of this project: monumental images serving as sentinels for a world on the brink.
Is there, as Robert Adams has suggested, an affirmation to be found in such an endeavor? I don’t yet have an answer. What I do know is that I feel compelled to make these artworks, in an effort to give voice to the stories emerging at the breaking of the Anthropocene.