My work investigates the permeable boundaries that humans have established between the built world and the environment. Humans have dissected the land into parts– designating some for preservation, and most to be exploited for economic gain. I create work that examines how these separations influence our experience and knowledge of the natural world.
My recent work uses two different materials and strategies to consider the human propensity to constrain and organize the world around us. The first explores the prevalence of invasive buffelgrass introduced to the Southwest as a form of erosion control. The grass takes over swaths of the landscape, using up precious water resources, driving out local wildlife and native plants, and exacerbating wildfires in the already fire-prone desert. Buffelgrass has spread rapidly throughout the region and is now beyond eradication. By combining broken and manipulated grid forms with collected buffelgrass, I examine the frailty of structures imposed onto uncontrollable spaces and the errant attempt at systemized power over the landscape. I aim to lean into the intrinsically disorderly qualities of the grass paired with the flawed networks of the human-structured world to create works that feel strange and precarious.
The second investigation, To Pass Through Two Doors at Once, is a large sculpture made from mycelium-grown bricks created in collaboration with mycelial networks. The sculpture offers a physical metaphor for human interaction with the natural world. Mycelium is the basis of all life on our planet. Entangled in almost every ecosystem, it holds soils together, forms symbiotic relationships with 90% of plants and accelerates decay while making space for new life to emerge. While I ultimately held power over this living material– manipulating it into molds and deciding when to stop its growth– the mycelium behaved in surprising ways– requiring me to cede control to the material’s natural tendencies. Under the right circumstances, the mycelium continued to thrive even after I removed it from any moisture, developing unique colors across the surface of the bricks, and sprouting fruiting bodies.
The push and pull between me and the mycelium mimic the fallible attempts of human authority over the environment. Eventually installed permanently at The Land With No Name, an outdoor sculpture sanctuary, the structure will invite both new life and decay as the material begins the decompose. The evolving sculpture illuminates how natural organisms will continue to evade restraint for as long as we continue to attempt to restrain them. To Pass Through Two Doors at Once proposes that from the rubble we have created, life will prevail.
In both the buffelgrass and mycelium works, I aim to create something recognizable and open to interpretive perspectives. This ambiguous duality forces the viewer to walk around, interrogate, and look closely at an object. Through this confrontation, I invite the viewer to contemplate their relationship to these objects, and ultimately, their connection to land.