Chemical Landscapes

Artist Statement


As I commute through the Southern California landscape, it's hard not to notice all the palm trees and power lines. Palm trees are a mythical symbol for Southern California, the land of sunshine and beaches. Yet, most of the iconic trees are imported. Power lines trace the regional expanse from the desert to the coast, planted in the ground, providing electricity and stringing together conveniences. While the dystopic vision presented by my photographs does not offer solutions, they do serve as speculations of the impending environmental impacts. I trace the human influence upon the land with a needle and thread. Palm trees and power lines act as generic signifiers to be cut, pierced and manipulated. The gesture of simultaneous puncturing and mending is used to implicate humankind's misuse of the land, an activity that has spiked in the last century. To further express natural calamity, I use chlorine bleach to cause my prints to "bleed" emulsion. Southern California might be a utopia on television, but it is not protected from the real ecological threats faced by the residents here.