In Leave No Trace, I explore ideas related to nature and our impulses to control, reshape, and even destroy the landscapes and environments we play stewards of. Embedded in the work is a paradox of the desire to leave our mark while simultaneously seeking out the pristine, remote, and idyllic. With overtures to the climate crisis humanity faces, this work straddles the weight of rapidly changing environments with playful moments of seeming whimsy. While shrouded in a fragile balance between play and responsibility, these works are intended to inspire the complexity of emotions facing our way forward, as playful elements float, fly, or inhabit these landscapes giving rise to feelings as varying as loss to wonder.
This work is inspired in part by early theories of the Sublime. As the romantic grandeur of these landscapes and atmospheres evoke a sense of beauty and terror, they are recontextualized into moments of levity, playgrounds, or amusement parks. I work from photographs I take while personally exploring some of these vistas, whether it be in the mountains hiking and climbing or kayaking rivers and lakes. I also collect source material that ranges from found images and postcards to photographs dating back to the late 1800s. I then construct compositions that are based on real places. The work in Leave No Trace expands this body of work, which has primarily been focused on mountainous landscapes, by including compositions that explore themes around water and air.
The materials that I use are primarily charcoal, graphite, and acrylic on wood panels. The use of charcoal and graphite links the materiality of carbon to the imagery, further connecting my work in an elemental and fragile way, while the plasticity of acrylic becomes a distinct voice. The work is created meticulously and carefully by building layers of small mark-making that reverberate the care, anxiety, and enormity I feel about the subject matter.