Nature’s abundance, with its infinite variety of forms, fibers and colors, is providing me with a growing palette that creates new opportunities to form my narratives. I have become more and more curious about the landscape right outside my studio door. What are the plants that we walk on everyday—what is ‘underfoot’? These plants —dandelions, plantain, mugwort, ragweed, barberry, among others — become both images and materials, in the form of dyes and print matter. Furthermore, these plants are useful in herbal remedies, providing another avenue of research for my work and which have drawn me further into etymology, appellations and vernacular.
The exhibition, underfoot, showcased interpretations of old books happened upon in archives, showing their wear and tear; reading lists written on sheets of paper and stained with use; ‘books’ printed and sewn by hand with materials from the land.
One wall of the gallery was transformed into an installation of handmade sculptural books, some stacked on shelves or wedged into small crates, and others hung directly onto the wall so that the pages cascade down. All of these expose a variety of prints made from leaves and other plant material, with lines drawn from natural inks and with tracings from a variety of late summer flowers, often augmented with stitching and watercolor. The combinations and chemistries result in subtle beauties that give the viewer another way of seeing nature.
underfoot, Knox Gallery, Monterey, MA, 2014.
Photographed by Douglas Baz