TRANSPLANTS

For a project at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, in collaboration with other alums from the UNM Land Arts of the American West program, I wanted to create a metaphor for the ways in which humans approach unfamiliar places: the mingled futility and necessity of imposing familiar processes on new environments where those traditions may or may not be practical, and where one’s habitual worldviews may fail to take root, or invade aggressively. I referenced clothing patterns from the late 1800s to create homesteading-era costumes, and covered the garments with hand-gathered plant materials that ranged from grasses to cottonwood fluff to leafy spurge. Some of these plants were native to Wyoming, others introduced; some cherished, some loathed. Colleagues Cynthia Brinich-Langlois and Joseph Mougel gave breath to the characters that wore these garments in a performance. The resulting photographic documentation provided imagery for an extended series of paintings and drawings, which final works continue to explore the metaphor for the transplanting of ideas and ideals.