'the age of consequences' Artist Statement
Hidden in the shadows of the waking world, abandoned buildings offer mute testimonial to our country’s past. I have entered abandoned structures since I was a child, fascinated by the fragments of people’s lives left behind. Through photography I endeavored to preserve the ethereal grace and stillness in these environments and to give a sense of the awe-inspiring beauty and profound sorrow that remains after life has ceased and only echoes remain.
The world I have inherited is one where the social institutions that defined the greatness of our country are blinking out, our churches are no longer places of hope and faith, our industries are no longer our economic engine but rather environmental disasters sites, and even our homes are liable to be taken from us when the ever-more-fragile equilibrium is upset. Far from being the canaries in the coal mine, these sites ARE the coal mines, the towns that they built, the storefronts and mansions that they created.
My work is not meant solely as a lament about glory days gone by – it is also a lament for the present we find ourselves in and for the path that lies ahead. It is not solely about desolation and despair, but the fragile and mesmerizing beauty that still exists, hidden away in a the husks of old mills and stockyards, as ivy winds its way around banisters and explosively colorful swaths of moss spreading across asylum floors. It is not solely about stagnation and decline, but about change and transformation – one that threatens our very identity as a nation, but also shows that even in the midst of the worst destruction life can and will thrive, and that when one least expects it hope can be salvaged from despair. It is not about providing answers, but asking questions, examining our values and mores, and exploring the possibilities for transcendence and redemption even in the wake of catastrophe and failure. After all, in some senses these sites are the embodiment of the death not just of our physical forms but our ideals and our legacy – and with these memento mori we are forced to confront the very substance of the reality we share, and what we truly wish our mark on this world to be.
"end of the line" 24" x 36" 2012
"the weight of all their sins" 24" x 32" 2012