(A selection of intaglio prints spanning the Tropists and Water Drawings. Click on project title to view images.)
Pictures meant to convert the cartographic into the botanical, and to distill the hydrographic into an essence of dynamism, now unfold into something else. Explored through sequential variations, each unique body of water begins to offer its own particular tendencies and thus its own identity. In essence, a river presents its own vocabulary, grammar and usage, revealing itself as a peculiar language. The Douro River that I know from both satellite images and from my visits to Portugal since 1992 is a rich example of this. Along with other waters I’ve employed, the Douro drawings illustrate the vitality and nearly imperceptible flux that is always happening, beneath and around us.

 

(Click on project title to view images.)

How does physical environment shape our awareness and sense of opportunity? Does a surrounding body of water present an impasse to overcome, or the liberty we're unable to realize on terra firma? How to distinguish containment from shelter? A development of the Hudson River works that actually predated them in inspiration, the Laguna Studies began with these ideas.

 

Living in Venice and finding myself quite literally confronted by water in every direction throughout the day, I found the city's canals and surrounding waters an overwhelming, if passive, subconscious force. Working from a local map, I parsed the lagoon's non-navigable zones, as delineated by its network of channels and land masses, and reassembled the shapes that through history enabled its defense and rise as a center for international trade. It was an exercise to make tenable something beyond my grasp and make use of a geography otherwise reserved for more aquatically adapted species--as if this effort might render greater purpose to, or at least comprehension of, the estuary.

 

(Click on project title to view images.)

These works stem from the earlier Hudson River Studies. Like the Barrier Island works that record the slender fingers of land along the Atlantic seaboard and U.S. Gulf coast, these studies on paper document the extensive chain of atolls and reef islands in the equatorial Pacific Ocean today. Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands all face the threat of oceanic submersion, and already suffer the damages and contamination of increasingly frequent king tides. Inhabitants are challenged to redesign their means of subsistence, if not relocate altogether. For those of us who may only travel via Google Earth, zooming in to the individual palms and waves lapping upon sand is an introduction to understanding their geographical instability. Suggestively documenting these islands in their present state is one step toward raising awareness of their communities' circumstance, as well as the greater issue of climate change directly affecting our survival.

 

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Tropism refers to the ability of certain biological organisms, most typically plants, to respond quite noticeably to an external stimulus such as moisture or sun. Tropists is a collection of works drawing from this phenomenon through the like behavior of botanically suggestive lines and forms. In each image, an unseen stimulus acts upon an array of shapes and stems, directing their individual growth as a collective whole. Through this simplistic yet elegant examination of singular and group progression, these pictures for me convey the notion of vitality itself, and attest to the behavior of all things living.

 

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In 2005 I began making pictures using recombined satellite photos. I had been living in New York City for several years and took periodic trips along the Hudson River to points north. In hopes of connecting with the outside world while carrying forward an interest in the dynamics of things, I chose water as principal building material. I parsed a satellite image of the Hudson into twenty-six pieces and reconfigured its segments, tracing these individual shapes in pencil onto watercolor paper. The initial result was a vaguely suggestive plant form, every reach of the river overlapping another and growing upward into the white of the page.

 

These pictures illustrate a flux all around us, whether that of our changing planet or a cosmological expansion whose time-scale challenges comprehension. Recording their source and offering meditations on dynamism, they remind us that change doesn’t stop at the limits of our perception.

 

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(Please see Nature for a text description. Click on project title to view images)

These drawings explore some of the values and systems governing societal behavior today. Making pictures of dogs among tangles of pearls and the accoutrements of a material elite may suggest a campaign of cultural criticism, but I'm more interested in notions of instinct and how that pertains to our tendencies toward the sensual. If these dogs betray any disconnectedness from the extravagances surrounding them, it only points to our own species' unique circumstance: a consumer-oriented means for establishing personal security and proving ourselves fitter than our neighbors. In a time where brand identity, status, and consumer appetite seem so inescapable, how else might we define ourselves and make meaning of the world? These pictures encourage me to evaluate what is human nature, and to reflect upon what truly guides us as sentient beings.

 

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With the aid of digital deconstruction and recombination, peony blossoms in recent works have become a tool for bridging plant life with seemingly disparate cosmological phenomena such as dark energy, gravitational lensing, and the cosmic microwave background radiation. They are pictures meant to help us acknowledge that which resides outside our everyday field of reference—the observable world yet beyond our threshold of awareness—even as we return to the familiarity of the garden.

 

(Click on project title to view images.)