Having grown up in Alaska, my understanding of the land was influenced by both the rugged monumentality of the terrain and the impact of the oil and gas industry upon the land. To this day, I feel a natural affinity for places and things that evoke those memories, such as the mountains and deserts of the southwest, and excavation sites and earthmoving equipment found in the industrial landscape.
Much of my work is based upon direct research conducted through site visits. National parks—including the Badlands National Park, South Dakota; Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho; Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Park, New Mexico—provide the opportunity to experience the untrampled landscape and the unyeildling power of nature through time. Similarly, industrial sites—quarries; gravel pits; mines; urban construction sites—present the capacity of human capability intervening with nature. This research, together with material samples, is then brought back to the studio to continue developing the work.
I unfurl large rolls of paper on the floor and immerse myself in the painting, much like being in the landscape. Working from the inside out, I disperse a palette of earth-toned inks with distilled water and industrial solvents, and use aggressive tools such as wire brushes, scrap metal, and reclaimed tire shreds to push the ink around. Surrounded on all sides by the expanse of paper, I move through the work as if I am traversing the terrain.