"The miracle of light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slowly moving, the grass and the water that is the meaning and the central fact of the Everglades. It is a river of grass." Marjory Stoneman Douglas
I began this series during my AIRIE residency in the Everglades in December 2012. It draws inspiration from a ritual described in 'The Rings of Saturn' by W.G. Sebald. In Holland in the 1600s, during the wake of the deceased, it was customary to cover all mirrors, landscape paintings and portraits in the home with cloths. It was believed this would make it easier for the soul to leave the body and subdue any temptations for it to stay in this world.
The ritual seemed, by extension, to be a confirmation of the deeply moving experience that one often feels in the natural environment, and thus provided both a literal and contextual frame within which to shoot the landscape, a portal from the domestic into the wilderness. The curtains, all purchased from Goodwill and Salvation Army stores in south Florida and Utah, represent a ‘social fabric’ with a history already attached to them. In our increasingly urban existence that ever distances us from the wilderness experience, the drapes serve as visual connectors to the familiar.
An evolution of Marjory's World, Through Looking incorporates intervention and the artist's hand. Painted in situ, in response to the palette of the landscape, the blinds obscure the viewer's gaze into the landscape while acting as an aesthetic amplifier. Each photograph is performative yet painterly. A nod to the tradition of painting en plein-air, the blinds portray the emotive and aesthetic qualities of the landscape as they were experienced at a specific moment in time. The scenes are revisited and photographed at different times throughout the day and seasons throughout the year.
The series was made over a three-night period in Neponsit, the Rockaways, documenting the aftermath of superstorm Sandy in October 2012. A small neighborhood located on the western half of the Rockaway Peninsula, the Native American name Neponsit means the place between waters, namely the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and of Jamaica Bay or Rockaway Inlet. The affluent area of scenic century-old beach homes was one of the most devastated by the storm.
The interior pictures were made sequentially walking through one such residence, the intention to force the viewer to engage in a form of voyeurism in a stranger’s home. The sea had torn through the garden walls, into the lower floors of the house, filling the basement with over a meter of sand. The upper floors remained untouched, producing a strange disconnect.
RETURN TO NEVER NEVER
Return to Never Never chronicles a series of journeys made to Cuba over a period of ten years.
A fictional island in the writings of J.M. Barrie, Neverland became a metaphor for eternal youth, immortality and escapism. In the history of 1960s Cuba, Operation Pedro Pan was a harrowing period that brought an exodus of Cuban children to America, sent by parents fearing for their loved ones’ upbringing under the shadow of Castro’s government.
Just as Neverland existed only in the fanciful minds of children, so too does the idea of Cuba within the subconscious of contemporary society. It is a place marked by limbo and untouched by the passage of time – which itself seems to come and go when all else seemingly remains still. In contrast to Neverland, the exodus can only last so long in the adult imagination.
Relying on methods of chance and personal/collective memory, these photographs capture encounters – people, places, rituals and the complex connect with the land and nation. It is a coincidental reality that is neither ordered of logical, but blurring lines between dreamed and everyday life, the imagined and the fact.