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Desert Waterlines 

Water carves lines, creates illusions, and enhances the beauty in the desert landscape. Desert Waterlines explores water as an essential and defining characteristic of the desert. Despite the frequent visual absence of water in the desert, its impact on the geography, flora, fauna and the way we navigate such landscapes is ever present.

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Musing about my exhibition

I believe that encounters with wonder are essential to the human experience. In my observation, it can evoke an inclination to preserve that moment in time so as to not be forgotten and the experience becomes less about the self and more about the transcending encounter. 

These encounters with wonder can lead us to realizations in how we navigate our relationship to space and landscape that we interact with. Making artwork functions as a placeholder for these encounters and memories and a metaphor for understanding the landscape. 

The body of artworks in Desert Waterlines, responds specifically to my time spent in the Great Basin which for me is Northern Nevada and SE Oregon in Summer Lake. 



The aspen grove responds to experiencing aspens growing in ravines up in the mountains of the high desert feeding off natural springs. 


Desert Root Studies | GPS tracked hike and Lamoille Creek - Thomas Creek

The drawing of silver lines on the wall integrated with the desert root drawings is about my interest in mapping and discovering the route I took crossed a creek so many times that when I looked back at the gps tracking and creek and isolated the two lines you couldn’t tell the difference. 


The desert plant root studies are linked in a way to my fascination of plants surviving in such harsh climates. They also move around the contours of the land to find nutrients and water similarly to me navigating the landscape looking for the next water and viewpoint. 



In the book Mapping and Imagination in the Great Basin:  Richard V. Francaviglia discusses:“That stunning white space--a huge cartographic silence, as it were--must have kindled the imagination.” “That white space is worth exploring in more detail as it is so evocative. One is tempted to speculate that the space is left white for a simple reason--that the land was literally unknown. That interpretation, however, fails to acknowledge something more profound about such blanks or “silences”: namely, that these cartographically open spaces are pregnant with meaning.”


I use white throughout my work in a similar way, I viewers to be encouraged to investigate and contemplate landscape through the use of quiet, blank and white spaces. 


By using white and simple contours and lines in my work, the viewer is invited to make their own interpretation of the color and connect the lines within the drawings.



Compass as an grounding point for the gallery- a starting point for exploration. It also conceptually relates to the works on the wall. 


This piece is about locating ones self in relationship to your surroundings. The imagery on the compass combines topography lines of Thomas canyon and a root system. After researching maps and plants in the desert I began to find similarities in the lines. 


When viewing the imagery of maps, I saw a connection to the similarity of root structures. Both have lines which wrap around the contours of the land. Both root systems and maps are a tool for survival. The map lines delineate valleys and peaks so that you can traverse them safely to an intended destination. Roots grow and stretch their tertiary roots to navigate through soil to find water and nutrients. Both navigate through space and speak to the topography of that space. 


Desert Waterlines Memory Map | Lamoille Canyon


This piece draws own my interest in topography and mapping. I referenced the map while making this piece. By using different gauged wire to create the topography it gives a feeling of texture that we aren’t used to with regular maps. However, the embossed method and thin paper was chosen for its reference to memory as being ephemeral. I used silver leaf for the water winding through this piece for both the reflective quality on experiences of water and for its value. 


Lamoille Canyon |40.650775, -115.412328

The artwork on floor is made from diatomaceous earth. (DE)

Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Today, silica deposits are mined from these areas.


This piece speaks to the whiteness on the map, the materials of the land and also the erosion of the land that water carves into the landscape. The void is intended to represent the water.



This work was made in response to time spent at PLAYA Artist Residency. It involves the visualization of hydrology and its relationship to the high desert climate at Summer Lake. PLAYA is nestled up against a ridge looking out onto the vast Summer Lake, a seasonal dry lake. This part of Oregon goes through seasons of severe drought, this artwork explores the value of water as a precious resource to those who live in the high desert. Summer Lake Precipitation is an abstracted wall art that maps a graph of accumulative local precipitation of the last 10 years. Each line represents a year and each pin a month. Visually this work explores a scientific graph of precipitation through shadows and lines. 



The surface of the water changed almost daily and the waterlines along the edge of the lake were temporary. The lake is shallow and temporary in the winter and changes depending on the winds and evaporation. 

I used silver leaf to capture the light changing. The lake was ephemeral, similar to my memory, it is fragmented from the daily changes in weather, precipitation and colors. These series are collection of the ever changing landscape. The silver changes with light conditions as well - at night it still glows when it catches the slightest bit of light and evening or dawn it has a golden glow often. 


My artwork is a response and placeholder to encounters with wonder in the landscape. Through these notions of memory and perception in my artwork, I intend to provide an entry point for contemplating our spacial relationship to the landscape as we oscillate between an interior emotional experience and exterior experience.

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