I call these paintings “Minimal Landscapes.” The canvases depict a few square feet of a rock wall or mossy bank, several boulders, a single tree or bush. They are meant to hold minimal narrative content but evoke rich associations.
Immersed in the constructed realities of a culture neurotically obsessed with meaning, we become alienated from the importance of our own experience. Nature, however, imposes no meaning on its observers: there is only presence, and we can create our own meaning. In the Minimal Landscapes I explore nature through primordial yet deeply profound connections—the kind of connections that a child might forge. I am cognizant that these explorations stand in opposition to the art mainstream, and I take the decidedly and unapologetically feminist view that it is time to explore these subjects.
The images investigate moments of unmediated wonder: wading in a creek and being mesmerized by the interplay of light and reflection; soaking up the warmth of a rocky shore while being fascinated by the glow of the water; luxuriating in the touch of moss underfoot and marveling at the soft forest shadows; skipping across the boulders; exploring the wonders of a cracked rock wall; inhaling the fragrance of fresh autumn leaves; and marveling at the gentle fuzz of spring trees. These encounters are captured close-up in a childhood “tunnel vision” and rendered with pronounced sensory appeal.
Yet the Minimal Landscapes are deceptively idyllic. They present nature as observed in the 21st century, and raise the question of whether “pristine” vistas can be taken at face value. The images record scenes in Northeastern Pennsylvania—a region marked by many environmental and social concerns, including fracking—and capture nature overgrowing abandoned sites of earlier industrial development: former logging roads, train tracks, quarries, mills and farms, often observed from rail lines re-purposed as hiking trails.