I’ve been expanding my work recently, working in a few diverse, but related, directions. One of the series I’m working on continues an idea I began in a large drawing (pictured in recent posts) of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Although I was excited about the drawing, I feel it didn’t tap into one of the core ideas I was exploring in my sketches and writing at the time – this idea of the landslide/eruption being a rupture in the full history of the region: present, future and even touching the past. This is a short excerpt from some writing I was doing at the time:

“If soil is a natural history of the earth, if bedrock holds the origins of life, imagine the significance of the eruption of Sister Helen. In an instant, this fairly linear history of earth was blown to the high heavens; cremated, dissipated, and dusted heavily over the Northwest. Horse trailers, wooly mammoth tusks, mule deer, great pines, concrete, fossilized remains of early single-celled organisms – all airborne and disintegrating in a furious primordial explosion. What was once written in stone becomes fluid, and mystery falls like snow.”

I am interested in approaching this ‘Slidescape’ project from the vantage point of a landscape artist, reproducing scenes and tales I’ve heard told of that day in combination with my own imaginative process. I am interested in this explosion as both a point of death and birth – a kind of perfect conflation of these two poles of mortal life. It seems nature is that way, complete in its cyclicality. Life and death are intimately and paradoxically related, awfully and beautifully intertwined, dependent on one another. 

Love a good press shot…

Life, then, is incomplete without and, in a most peculiar way, sustained by death. I suppose I am pulled to this idea of landscaping a great landslide because of these observations. I continue to wonder what it may mean for my life, and how this manifests itself or is neglected by my daily thoughts and actions. It seems an important thing for me to continue to consider. I suppose that is why I make this idea special, make it physically manifest, through my work as an artist.

In-process Slidescape piece.
Etching, Aquatint, & Spitbite Itaglio print, 20×24″

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