Landscape as Theater
first memorable experience as a child of 3 or 4 years was wandering
in a grove of majestic oak and hickory trees
on my grandparents’ farm in southern Illinois. Being a city
kid, this experience of “nature” established a lasting
love for the landscape.
I purchased 40 acres of beech/maple climax woods in 1971. This
dense grove of trees fascinated me and became the subject for my
image making. During this process I realized that the purchase
of this land was, in a sense, the re-purchase of a core meaningful
childhood experience. The landscape soon became an essential part
of my life.
a result, the series A Prairie Ronde Island
was born. Over many years of observation and exploration of this
40 acres, I understood
it was not a place, it was an organism. The images I made were
not only aesthetic but also a record of personality, temper, spirit,
disposition, condition, and whim, all resulting from seasonal changes
and ever changing weather. My land was a theater whose sets changed
intimate experience of my own woods turned my attention to the
rural landscape and how people used, affected,
and integrated land into their life. I saw that the landscape was
not nature, but a thing that is often used as people see fit, and
the Outland series began. People and their stuff now became the
stage setting for other changes in the landscape.
landscape extended itself further with the Night Light
series in which the relatively dim light of night, both natural
and man-made, references its own shifting effect on the landscape
setting, as well as that of the time and space that surrounds each “universe” that
is the subject of the pictures.