These grew out of my 1-month residency in Wyoming, at the Jentel Artist Residency. One month in the pristine natural environment of the Piney Creek Valley, in Northern Wyoming—cattle country, land stretching out as far as I could see, no cars, and four visual artists and two writers. Outside my studio door towered the purple and ochre foothills, and across the great expanse of land, in the distance, the Big Horn Mountains.
My travels to Wyoming strongly impacted both my working process and my imagery. The immense space of the landscape and sky, and the particular phenomena of the scoria topped hills—a strange land where coal deposits under layers of clay caught fire, and baked the clay, and now, red iron oxide and dark purple shards of glazed brick, rectangular bits of burnt slag, jut out of the rounded foothills at odd and beautiful angles.
Within the immensity of the space and silence, my own visual language, of my whirling energized industrial forms, began to take new shapes, new meanings. Memories resurfaced; childhood toys reappeared. As though the whole landscape, rock forms, vast expanses of land, mule and white tailed deer walking past my door, all got caught up in the dance.
Logistics resulted in a new approach. The large paintings were cut into smaller units, broken down to fit in a small box. The result was a solution to the interactive quality of my work process: working many paintings at once that interact as a whole, yet are individual works; and working on both small and large scale at once. This is also a metaphor for my thoughts about the interchange between the solitude of the studio and the richness of the community in which I teach, produce, and live. Like the individual within community, each panel has its own narrative, yet, like community, there is a dialogue among them.