THE NEW AMERICAN WEST

The American West is a combination of myth and reality. In the early 21st century this vast expanse of land remains much as it was centuries ago, but signs of humanʼs presence are pervasive. Remnants of the old west still haunt the landscape in the form of old motel signs, cowboys, Indians and trading posts that all allude to an era long gone. Today many of these fading cultural icons are informed by newer changes to the landscape.

High voltage electric transmission lines march into the empty distance, silent, unless one stands under them and hears the crackling of the electricity traveling through the vast expanse of the West. Viaducts have been built that carry precious water from one state to another transforming arid land into productive farms. Armies of trucks transport goods across the country, rolling over countless miles of highways. The arrows implanted in the earth along old Route 66 have fallen short of their target, which was once the pony express, but now, ironically, Federal Express.

We show our presence even in our absence. A large piece of petrified wood has been oddly and elegantly placed on top of an eroding butte. Plastic caught on a barbed wire fence blows in the wind, mirroring the snow on top of a nearby mountain. Discarded automobiles lie in disarray on the surface of the land.

We are part of the landscape, figuratively as well as literally. The white man came to the “new world” and introduced Christianity, and Jesus bears the cross behind an old church in Taos, New Mexico. The conservative religious organization, Focus on the Family has its own national radio program as well as a freeway exit sign north of Colorado Springs, Colorado. We impact the land, the airwaves and in turn the landscape of our own psyches.

I began collecting images for this body of work in the 1990's. The metaphorical interweaving of time and place intrigues me, and so the work continues.

The negatives were made with a Mamiya 6 medium format camera and black and white film. The prints are archival carbon pigment prints and editions are limited. Gelatin silver prints are also available.