grand canyon 2022
Last spring, I spent three weeks living in the backcountry with a group of fifteen friends, winding through one of the most beautiful and dramatic places on earth, The Grand Canyon. With the chaos and confusion of the pandemic, the economy, politics, and the din of everyday life quieted behind the layered bands of towering red rock canyon walls, life was paired down to its simplest parts. Our days were composed of rafting whitewater rapids, hiking, making camp, cooking, and doing chores. At night we slept on sandy beaches under the stars, listening to the ancient sounds of the river.
This new series of work explores the colors, layers, and rich textures of the Colorado River corridor emphasizing the tension between the textures of various types of paper materials, brush strokes, stitching, and photography. These paper compositions focus on the materiality and tactile quality of the paper and subtly of textures.As I created these collages, I reflected on how I felt as I floated down that deep river canyon.
Immersed in the intimate beauty of the Colorado River basin, it’s impossible not to ponder its grave predicament— that this national treasure is in a state of collapse. Years of drought, climate change, and increased water use have exhausted this natural resource. These simple, yet strange paper constructions are an expression of dissonance, based on a deep love and appreciation for the environment. The ambiguous forms mimic shapes found in nature, yet they are shapes one cannot define.
This collection is a layering of ink jet photographs, latex painted Bristol paper, cotton thread, sandpaper, the physical map that we used daily to navigate the river, and handmade Tamarisk paper with fibers I foraged from the southwest— several are hand-stitched to symbolize unity, repair, restoration, and reconnection.