The Alaskan landscape surrounding my home plays an essential role in my work. I rely on the land for its tangible qualities and pay close attention to its nuances. Through the art making process, I can take a landscape and break it down like an ecologist would, looking at different layers, stories, and interconnections that create the specific place.
In We Hardly Know Our Own, the imagery and materials unfolded chronologically, to tell one small piece, and my interpretation of, a new geologic epoch. The land is still coming out of a geologically recent ice age; evidence is everywhere. In the maritime climate of Southeast Alaska, water – both liquid and solid – has forced its way – with the help of gravity – to shape bedrock, tear down mountainsides, and carve deep fjords. Earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, and glacial advance, retreat and rebound, have all shown that the earth is very much alive and continues to be reborn. Many of these events go untamed, unmanaged, and unnoticed by most humans since Alaska is so large that many events happen without significant threat to human population centers. How do we know, relate, and narrate the complexities of geologic time while witnessing a new geologic era, the age of man, the Anthropocene?
Telling the story of the place I live, the challenges Alaska faces, and the outcomes ahead, is only a tiny thread in the larger weave told through art, visual communication, and discourse. My work is a reflection on loss, memory, rebound, and change, as well as a window into this particular place. Daily patterns and cycles are becoming more unpredictable, making it difficult to visualize, measure, and adapt to new ways of living on and with the land. How we see, comprehend, deconstruct, and communicate these complicated narratives aides in understanding the stress of human-caused climate change on the northern landscape.