Untitled, Hambidge Cross-Pollination Art Lab, 2022
I have had this idea in my head for a while… A leaf tornado turning into a tornado of blackbirds. So much so that I have been considering getting it tattooed (still considering!). It felt good to both get it out of my head and to build it… for this show in particular. It sits in the middle of select photography pieces from the last 16 years of my life. For the most part (I mean, I would love to build it bigger!), I am pleased with how it turned out. I think it works well in the space and when the air kicks on and one can be still and sit with it, it has a living presence - the whole thing slowly, silently turns while each individual leaf/bird spins on its own, at its own pace. I collected the hearty magnolia leaves from my driveway and made the “leaf birds” from redbud leaves - which are pliable and thin enough to bend without tearing or breaking and strong enough to be glued and cut. I found the beautiful root system discarded on the southwest corridor of the Beltline. I knew the moment I saw it that it was perfect for this project. I carried it home and gave it a good scrub to get some (cause you can’t ever get all) of the red clay off.
Being made largely of natural materials, this piece will change color, texture and size (I expect) during the life of the show. Pieces of it are changing, decaying and dying as I type. The beautiful root system, is still managing to give life to something, even though its life and original purpose have passed.
The natural world has always carried with it so much magic and fascination for me. It is calming and also totally exhilarating with so many little discoveries - it is where my focus and imagination kicks in. I bought my house a long time ago - back when freelance people who didn’t make a whole lot of money could actually still get a loan. I knew that eventually - the Beltline would run through my neighborhood about a quarter mile from my house. I could never have guessed how profoundly this would change things for my neighborhood, the city and our surrounding natural world/environment. This piece is certainly about change and transformation and also a memorial of sorts. Grieving for the beautiful pockets of wildness and small, but important ecosystems that have just evaporated with endless development.