Old-growth stumps, reminders of 120 years of logging, haunt the landscape of Bowen Island, my home on Canada’s west coast. In the margins between developments decaying debris clusters around the remains of 1000 year old trees, as erosion, water, insects, gravity, and animal activity soften them into strange shapes. The accumulation of windfall branches adds to the disarray, even as saplings and decades old trees emerge from the mulch. The resulting landscape is messy: unequal parts battlefield, graveyard and nursery.
Walking in this landscape feels like trespassing, as though the groves are inhabited by something unseen and perhaps menacing. It’s hard to find your footing. As my work leads into this dark territory it becomes metaphor for a psychological space, an interior yet foreign landscape that reflects our less rational thoughts and fears. Here the pretty and majestic standards of natural beauty we usually encounter yield to something deeper and less comfortable.
The series’ title is a poetic reverie on the effect of losing our heroic specialness.
I wish to acknowledge that the land we call Bowen Island is unseeded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples.