Friday, October 16, 2009
Since moving to Reno some years ago from a softer, greener place, I have used art to grapple with my environment. I found that making art about the place is my way to claim it and feel at home. In the beginning I was intimidated by the desert landscape and started with still life paintings. Soon the still life objects were perched before windows with a glimpse of the hills beyond. Later I found a group of plein air painters who introduced me to the many facets of my new home state which I have come to appreciate, and maybe even love.
I also find that living in town is convenient in all sorts of ways, though the quiet, empty, wild places of Nevada are the ones that nourish my spirit. Luckily, I have a taste of both, living as I do at the urban edge of northern Nevada’s largest metropolitan center. From the front of my house I overlook a sea of tract houses and hear the hum of the distant freeway. From the back of the house, I see hill beyond hill of pinion-dotted rocky land which so far is only lightly tamed by human development. This urban interface is an interesting place of contrast and conflict. The wild horses in their quest for food often make themselves unwelcome on the suburban lawns. The rabbits and ground squirrels make gardening a frustrating business. This place of dichotomy, this tension between untamed and over regimented is the inspiration for the work I am doing for the Geographical Divides project.