|the cloudmapping series|
Southern Gothic Now Artist’s Statement for the Cloudmapping paintings:
If I had to say how the Cloudmapping paintings (ongoing) connect to Southern Gothic, I would say this: though I'm more Buddhist than anything else, the paintings’ narratives are steeped in the same supernatural Old Testament world that fueled the great-greats of Southern literature. A Serpent; an Ark; an ultimatum hovering in the sky – these are denizens and mechanisms of the stories that haunt Faulkner’s characters, or McCullers’. The world around us is material and tangible, but it is also permeable to revelation and catastrophe. Time is experienced in days, but it is also measured on the line stemming from Creation and ending in Judgment. In the paintings’ maximalist, intergrowing lushness I see the influences of pond, marsh, coast, and viney woods: Southern places. I also see the Garden, and perhaps the world before it came to be.
The Cloudmapping paintings connect to writing and literature in another surprising way. At work on the series, I came to think of the paintings as illuminations for a layered manuscript, whose content, though Biblically familiar on some level, remained unknown and out of sequence. This feeling became so strong that I sent the images to my friend, Atlanta-based poet JS van Buskirk, asking if she might be able to help me find a story for the paintings. She agreed to do so, and – after a few more rounds of texts and images – we plan to publish a collaborative artists’ book.
Where the Cloudmapping paintings take root in timeless places, populated by mythical creatures, the Voidvideos (2006-2007) stem from green spaces near my home in Sewanee, Tennessee. I have come to suspect that the proliferation of cutesy animals in pop culture is somehow intimately connected with the parallel extinction of wild animals in real ecosystems. Animal Void lions, kitties, and bunnies pair off in void dances, pull on their crotchless panties, put in their diamond grillz, and ruin the pristine promise of the woods. Thus: one project revolves around landscapes outside of time (Eden), while the other depicts landscapes running out of time (the Cumberland Plateau).