In our present era, sometimes referred to as the Anthropocene, we seem to be increasingly reaping the fruits of our collective actions. The consequences of human activity are wreaking havoc as evidenced by climate change, pandemics, and the endangerment and extinction of flora and fauna that keep our planet in balance.
Blue Lake has much in common with my previous durational paintings in that it calls forth the animistic qualities of material, allowing them to use their own voice and act at their will. To me it’s a way of sharing authorship and empathizing with the surroundings by revealing their active role in the outcome of the work. The entropic process gives way to a microcosmic glimpse of elapsing geologic time.
Blue Lake refers to a body of water in the Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon formed 3,500 years ago in a deep crater left by a volcanic explosion. It was adjacent to the Caldera Arts Center where I made the piece during my Artist Residency in February, 2020. I came to Caldera with an intention to immerse myself in the landscape and to somehow acknowledge the First Peoples of America that were displaced and wiped out in the process of colonization. During walks around the rim of the Blue Lake crater and the vicinity I gathered objects such as the lichens seen in the piece, and also recorded sounds. Inspired by my recent collaborations with sound sculptor Liz Phillips and Pauline Oliveros’ ideas about Deep Listening, I mixed the sound into a composition.
Maura Garcia (non-enrolled Cherokee/Mattamuskeet), fellow Artist in Residence collaborated to create a live performance responding to a section of the painting and the sound piece, and by extension the landscape around Caldera. Her dance company Maura Garcia Dance was founded to uplift Indigenous cultural values, to form connections and to explore the rhythms of the natural world.
The full length piece is 65 minutes, the performance shown here uses a 14 minute excerpt.
The sound starts at approximately 3 minutes from the beginning.