Solo Show at Shenandoah Valley Art Center, Waynesboro, VA
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The word “backyard” doesn’t usually evoke images of an exotic place. Backyard is often synonymous with mundane, ordinary, utilitarian, commonplace and consequently of little value.
In 2019, I began contemplating creating a body of work that was composed entirely of images found only in my backyard—bits and pieces of nature or, at times, man-made items that would normally be overlooked. I wanted to include the element of discovery and delight by using found objects, items that presented themselves to me when I was perhaps doing something else, but by taking time and being aware they were noticed.
In the Fall of 2019 I had begun capturing and collecting images for the project. Little did I know that in 2020 the project would take on an additional layer of meaning with the pandemic. Suddenly I truly was limited to my backyard. It was no longer a self-imposed restriction. My immersion in my backyard has been equal parts, gift, revelation, and saving grace.
I photographed each of these discoveries in the studio so that the items are isolated to create a portrait much the same way that a person is honored by having a formal portrait done. Those images are presented as mixed media encaustic pieces which offer a more layered interpretation of the object that compels the viewer to look more closely and carefully and to hopefully have the same sense of discovery and wonder that I did. In turn, perhaps, it will cause viewers to take more careful notice of what’s in their “backyard”.
A few words about the seemingly generic, but actually intentional, image titles: Throughout the entire time I was creating these pieces I was contemplating what to title them and actually some great titles came to mind. However, as the entire group of pieces came together, I realized that I did not want to impose my impressions or identifications on you, the viewer. I hope that you will see each discovery from my backyard with the absolute delight and awe that I first experienced when finding them, and discover your own words to express that.