superstition(s) // entangle . entwine . enrapture
a series of photo collages created as the initial output from my inaugural work with Arizona State University’s Desert Humanities Initiative.
the photographs were taken in the winter of 2022 in the Superstition Mountains wilderness area. i was taken with the complex beauty of flora-in-death juxtaposed against the veritable lushness of the desert following a rainy fall and winter.
the photos and collages are the basis (ideation, inspiration) for a series of developing sculpture/collage/painting works. resonating with me are the scars on the Saguaro (Carnegia gigantia) and the sinuous veining of the cellulose-like structure of various species of Prickly Pear (Opuntia). i read those characteristics as map-like and am compelled to explore the idea of maps as indicators of cultural and political dynamics (think gerrymandering, red-lining, creating borders where no physical borders exist, etc.); the notion that the markings on and the structure of flora express a map of that kin’s life; the idea that humans use maps to navigate our way across terrain that use graphic representations to reflect that terrain back to us in an effort to have us make sense of the terrain we are navigating.
as i always seek to have my art compel the viewer to consider and mindfully explore our (human) place on Earth and in the Universe, my intention with the developing works is to utilize maps as an artifact for framing discussion of where we find ourselves presently. with decolonialism increasingly taking the stage as a central theme for how to reassemble social, cultural, political, and economic systems for an equitable and just future, i think maps resonate because of their inherent graphic expression. we are bombarded by data, reports, literature; words and numbers—tools of communication that favor western, privileged, colonialized education and ways of thinking. maps (and other graphic representations) can beautifully express, and sometimes dangerously distort, where to find our place, where to head towards, what is obstacle, and what is opportunity.