The new work that I am getting ready to exhibit at The Holland Project in July is all based on the time I spent in the Arctic Circle in the summer of 2015. I've previously done a little work from all of the amazing footage, images, and experiences that I gathered there but I haven't had time to truly dedicate to it until now.
Almost a year after I returned, I had the opportunity to write a piece for Our Arctic Nation, a year-long blog sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Each week featured a posting from a different state and their connection to the Arctic--I was the representative for Nevada. If you missed the blog, you can read it here: The Art of Arctic Elements Through the Eyes of a Native Nevadan.
I am excited to get back to the images and video that I did there and address some of the things that I was thinking about while there (I write a bit about this in my post for Our Arctic Nation). It’s intriguing to see how things like travel and these types of experiences influence me and my work. The time spent on that ship with 28 other artists was brief and very concentrated. Yet, because we had no connection to the outside world at all, it felt like a piece out of time, much longer than 2 weeks, otherworldly. The effects can be really subtle and subconscious and not come to the surface for a long time after.
There are the obvious immediate effects like the incredible landscape and the light for 24 hours that makes you crazy. And the story about the polar bear and her cub or seeing blue whales for the first time or skinny dipping in near freezing water near the 80th parallel.
But, it’s the other stuff that comes up—weeks, months or years later that becomes really exciting and valuable as you start to synthesize and process your experiences. They become ingrained and meshed into each other, creating more nuanced and layered connections and meaning.
A lot of my work has to do with human relationship to the environment, how we interact with the environment, how we form those connections, the action of moving through or being in a place. In particular, the idea of mirages is something that I am interested in. I am interested in this because mirages are observable optical phenomena yet the images that they appear to represent are translated by the mind. Not a hallucination but, they are perhaps representative of desire or something else in the observer's psyche.
The light in the Arctic and the expanses of water and snow create ideal conditions for mirages—skewing perception of depth, distance, and scale. These are some of my ideas as I am working on the pieces for my upcoming exhibition.