Untitled (Man v. Nature)
acrylic, paper and ink on board
68 x 44 in.
The imagery of this work is sourced from both direct observation and memories of experiences traveling by car in recent years along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Landscape imagery is utilized not only to address environmental concerns but also as a metaphor for cultural identity. One of the defining factors of American culture is that it is continually in flux, and because there is not a specific ethnicity or face that represents the culture at large, the use of the figure as a representation of the culture would be exclusive, and therefore, inaccurate. In order to speak more specifically to our cultural identity on both a personal and collective level, it is necessary to find a broader subject that would accomodate the vast and continually growing complexity both individually and collectively that represents what it is to be “American”.
Landscape is the one thing that we all share, reaching beyond the boundaries of language, religion and tradition, relating to the viewer both bodily and in terms of the self. The landfill as subject in the work resulted from numerous interviews and site visits with the manager of the landfill that accepts waste from the community in which I was raised. The scenes in “Untitled (Man v. Nature)” depict occurrences in the landscape that individually and collectively speak to our current interests as a culture: commerce, development, waste management, leisure, and energy.
© Jen Curry