A brief recap. . . writing on the fly and trying not to overthink. This project started from observing the patterns of waterflow and researching environmental issues. I read the book, “The End of Nature” by Bill Mckibben last semester and it influenced this work at the beginning. I started questioning my role as an artist. I have embarked on this journey, so what do I have to offer? Finding inspiration and the need to understand the natural environment is something that artists have always done, all the way back to Leonardo Davinci. So, how do we as artists in today’s world find inspiration, or respond to a degraded landscape? This has been a question I keep coming back to.
SO, Why Leaves? Shortly, I wanted a material that speaks directly back to the environment it came from. Their venation pattern is similar to the patterns of creeks and rivers and of our own bodies (Dendritic patterns, our own veins). This material is so fragile and I think the viewer can come to their own conclusions about the work and most of the time they will think of ideas related to fragility and their relationship to this material. I see a reflection of my own fragility and health as well as other things. That’s what I like about the work, it has many different references but it does come back to water.
Leaves are a vital part to waterways. When they decompose they feed organisms at the base of the foodchain. Leaves are just as important when they are dead as they are when they are alive and on a tree. We over look them, see them as a nuisance, etc. . . I feel that my role is somewhat of a caretaker and the work is about creating a space for reflection. The process it takes to reveal the venation of the leaf, mimics the way we mine the earth for its resources and refine it to our standards. It’s revealing the death of something in a state that can never be reversed. It’s a place to show respect; an alter. I feel this work will take a lot longer than a couple months to really finish however, I have started down a road that I do not want to turn back from. I feel this work keeps revealing something new and I am finding new ideas for future work. Reminder: don’t forget to write things down.