This is my most recent body of work, comprised of 20 photographic prints and 8
encaustic pieces created during and after a cross country trip during the
summer of 2011. The images are 13 x 19 Archival Ink Jet prints. The encaustic
pieces are mixed media with photographs, found objects and pigmented wax.
The exhibition will be at The Donald Gallery from February 19 - March 19. The
opening reception is on Sunday, March 4 from 11:30-1:30, and the public is
I grew up in a military family and we moved an average of once a year until I was 20. We spent every summer driving across the country, either to a new house, or to visit relatives on the west coast. Some years we took the northern route across North Dakota, some, the southern route through Texas. We would make regular detours to visit military friends stationed in Kansas or Arizona. We had a favorite Mexican restaurant in Las Cruces, New Mexico and a favorite diner in Gary, Indiana. These places became as familiar to us after several visits as my favorite neighborhood haunts are to me now. I was from everywhere and nowhere - my home was America; it's great landscapes and familiar highways were like my backyard and town streets. These trips and their Technicolor memories have informed my photography for years.
This past summer I spent 40 days driving across the country and back to recreate these childhood journeys. The trip was planned around visiting as many of my former houses as possible. Photographing the houses and the landscape in between evoked memories long buried. Some of the places I had lived were gone: our home in Omaha couldn't be found - a hospital complex sits on its location. Our home in El Paso had been razed less than a year before, and the Fayetteville home had been grazed by a tornado that same month.
I saw neighborhoods destroyed by natural disasters in North Carolina and Missouri, abandoned homes in Detroit, ghost towns in New Mexico. I began to think about the notion of home and how the transformative forces of nature, economy and time affect our relationships to shelter. In Joplin neighbors wrote memorials to victims on the foundations of their broken houses. In Detroit a neighborhood has been turned into an art installation to protect it from being torn down, and in Gary, Michael Jackson's childhood home has become a shrine that brings attention and money to a community lost in the rust belt.
As we move into this uncertain century our presence continues to alter the landscape and our notions of home and security are questioned. We fortify our homes with steel and granite while we brace ourselves for loss. At the same time there is an inscrutable whimsy dotting the landscape – the expression of the American spirit staking claim to a unique and eclectic cultural identity.