ARTIST STATEMENT: WATERSHED
Here in Northern Arizona, a small change in moisture can have profound consequences for life: moss-laden Douglas firs thrive in the shade of Walnut Canyon while parched agaves eke by on the rim above. Our watersheds are stunningly beautiful and diverse microclimates adapted to dry air punctuated by winter snows and summer monsoons. But the future of our land and water are at risk. Climate change is warming our region and altering precipitation patterns. Wildfires, a natural feature of our forests, have grown dramatically more severe, leading to erosion and flooding. Population growth has outpaced our water supply; yet new wells continue to tap the Coconino aquifer. Today, we stand at a watershed moment. The land use decisions we make in the Flagstaff Regional Plan will dramatically affect our community’s future.
The pieces in Watershed respond to local water-related processes disrupted by climate change. I make my work out of the local landscape: I forage dyes and pigments from bark, leaves, seed husks, charcoal, rocks, and barbed wire. I salvage wood from construction and wildfire sites. My process begins with an underpainting of foraged plant forms using iron-based cyanotype chemistry. To this bright blue foundation I add a second layer of botanical forms using a technique I discovered of manipulating the wicking properties of dyes under the Arizona sun. I selectively alter the color with plants that chemically react with the underlying iron. Then I build up additional layers of natural dyes and pigments, along with acrylic paint. These subtle layers reveal themselves gradually with extended viewing, bringing the dimension of time to the two-dimensional surface. I try to create meditative works that beckon you to pause and reflect on the greater mysteries that underlie the natural world and our relationship to it.