Nature is a temple where living pillars
Sometimes let out confused words.
Man passes there through forests of symbols
Which observe him with a familiar gaze.
From Correspondences by Charles Baudelaire
I want to articulate a correspondence of dwelling and forests; how forest imagery can evoke deep feelings of emotional attachment or of abandon to nature and, perhaps, determine how much we care. Through a series of installations incorporating objects, photography and video, I explore correspondences between historical and contemporary attitudes and uses of the land, specifically the forest. These are landscapes with signs of human presence, either human beings figuratively or as evidence of living in the land (dwellings, shelters, fences, roads and paths).
Legends told of abandon within the forest enclosure render the familiar world uncanny. As in Baudelaire’s words, we do not understand the language anymore. Our forests, still possessing a formidable presence as symbolic forests, observe, guardians of our origins and ancient correspondences, however lost or forgotten.
I live in an older home built in 1938 that feels to be wedged between the forest and the sea, though both forest and sea are relatively tame and sheltered here. The yard is an extension of this urban forest with overgrown rhododendrons and hydrangea bushes growing amidst native trees and ferns. Early travelers to this place would have encountered an unbroken wall of thick old-growth Douglas-fir forest running down to the shoreline. These trees became timber for railway ties and the building associated with a flourishing mill town. The yard houses two tall Douglas-fir trees that were amongst the first to germinate after the initial logging of the hillside 125 years ago.
My art comes out of this place, both local and distant, real and imagined.