Line and symbol – a kind of notation,
An additive representation.
And whaddaya know,
Like caves at Lascaux,
Drawings rooted in documentation.
About American Landscapes
The drawings in American Landscapes began with an interest in creating representational works with a wide range of densities. I was curious if I would be able to combine many representational forms into specific compositions, with the forms themselves having different levels of legibility, depending on the level of density. Landscape drawing was immediately exciting to me for this purpose, as it afforded the chance to draw many types of plants and animals and make use of the value relationships integral to traditional landscape painting. In considering the tradition of landscape painting, the iconic paintings of the Hudson River School, in particular Thomas Cole's Oxbow were a source of inspiration. These canvases celebrate the grandeur and bounty of the American landscape.
My homage to the Hudson River School celebrates the bounty of nature through drawing the immense variety of living organisms of the region including: mammals, birds, insects, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, plants, fungi and microorganisms. Using the literal geographic confines of the Hudson River Valley, I used the internet to research life forms present in that area. The ability to draw wildlife and create landscapes completely from my own home, and using only the internet, without directly observation is also indicative of the role of technology in the current American landscape.
Just a few of the many sites I used to gather research from are: the US Fish and Wildlife Service Conservation Library, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Mid Hudson Mycological Association, NY-NJ-CT Botany Online and bugguide.net.
I recorded over 3,000 organisms, and then used various Google image searches to create sketches from this list. From the sketches in my sketchbook, I began creating various configurations on 300lb watercolor paper and Bristol. Most of the configurations use Hudson River School masterworks by artists including Thomas Cole, John Frederick Kensett and Albert Bierstadt, as a sort of armature. The drawings reinterpret these master works as a landscape teeming with life, forms piling on top of each other, sometimes revealing, other times fully or partially obscuring one another.