A sculpture of individual handmade drawings of Live Oak Acorns rendered on scraps of plastic gathered from construction sites. The plastic used on this is often used to cover sites of construction. Its clean, glossy, shrink wrapped aesthetic glossing over construction belies a material that off gasses terribly, creating an additional hazard for workers. During the pandemic and a subsequent injury that limited my mobility I began cutting scraps of it down to make individual drawings of acorns, disarticulated from the larger piece as a way to continue making amid the interruptions of the pandemic, the work is in dialogue with daily walks though live oak tree habitat. Each drawing is a meditation on the possibility inherent in a single seed or acorn: the possibility of an entire oak tree, and all the entangled lives it supports. Thinking about the clearing of time and dismantling of systems during the pandemic in relationship to the clearing of space that fire or fallen trees create, opening up sun for new growth to emerge. Both byproducts of crisis. Each acorn was a meditation on slowness, intention, transformation and inherent possibility that only needs the right circumstances to manifest.
In the reverse of the possibility of a single tiny acorn or seed the messy accumulation and production in this work references the plethora of acorns produced by any given tree and the generosity of nourishment it returns to the multispecies community it is entangled within. Should only one acorn mature in all its years— it is success, a continuation of all of these efforts— if we should try to measure success in that way, genetically— and not in the squirrels, fungi or other entangled lives it nourishes.
As the fire season accelerates the meditation on these fire evolved trees, turns from possibly to desperation. The plastic used to cover construction sites for homes, melted to form a new join of things torn apart, the unsettled convergence of human homes and non-human homes amid land coevolved with fire. Referencing human participation in both historic Native collaboration with fire to shape the landscape and the subsequent suppression of fire by settlers over the last century, coupled with the production of fixed inhabitation. The fluid rigidity of the melted plastic references the artists unease and sense of collective precarity.
By being each unique hand made drawings drawn from only 20 or acorns, this work also meditates on reproduction and mutation. The drawings of acorns remain what they are: images of the nut, entirely disassociated with the functions and realities of what each portrays.
The confluence of materials: human-made materials gathered from construction sites and the aftermath of wildfires on human-built structures enmeshed with non-human-made materials like oak branches and perennial grass seeks to raise dialogue on the pervasive concept of “nature” as something that is separate from us, but doing so without creating a false equivalent of the two. In the work I argue that what we mean when we talk about nature, is actually a series of intertwined relationships, that we might also call ecosystems. And so, in ecologies evolved with fire when we build structures that are not compatible with fire we have disconnects. One is “natural” because it is a part of that relationship. One is not— simply because its not.
As with all of my work, this plays with the exploration of humans as image makers using the production and reproduction of images of “natural” or other-human life as a self-soothing device to cope with living amid omnicide.