|s t a t e m e n t|
My current work is rooted in the wide flat landscape and agricultural expanses of the Midwest, and in the specific plants that share and define this landscape. The pictures I make are botanical studies of these life forms, and abstract compositions that explore our intimate, evolving reciprocity with the natural world.
My process begins with walks and hands-on encounters: in gardens, fields and roadside ditches, I collect plant specimens and bring them into my studio. Instead of photographing or drawing them, I use a simple desktop scanner to make a record of their physical presence at a particular moment in time. The plant's state of decay, the quality of light in the studio, and ambient dust all become part of the image; it's a digital record that can be reprinted but not remade. The limitations of this medium - a short depth of field, an 11" x 14" frame - are contrasted by its ability to capture detail comparable to a 4" x 5" photographic negative. This allows for a strangely intimate look at the material surface of these life forms.
The fleeting, insubstantial material of these organisms which began as genetic information is in a sense preserved by transforming it back into information. Digitally re-incarnated, it can be manipulated in a variety of ways - inversions of color and form, rotating, scaling, repeating, sequencing. In these processes of manipulation, the material of life becomes animate and shifty - seedpods may morph into birds or insects - and kaleidoscopically variable. The results may look beautiful or disturbing. And they may make us question what our botanical neighbors - the silent, stationary landmarks we take for granted - are made of.
With the advent of genetic engineering, these questions take on new implications. The business of manipulating plants has connotations both wondrous and monstrous. How we envision the possibilities and responsibilities of our interactions with these forms of life is no small matter.