MFA Exhibition

Legend Systems: an escape to a hidden land

March, 2021

My art practice is inspired by Psychogeography, the field of study describing the psychological experience of exploring the urban environment while illuminating forgotten and marginalized spaces. I immerse myself in field research much like a scientist—collecting data, observing, and experimenting with artforms and ecological theories. My site-specific sculpture installations represent a reflective correspondence between the urban environment and myself. My goal is to compel the public to expand their ordinary perception of the city streets and develop an awareness of the psychological geography surrounding us. These explorations often result in the revival or re-enchantment of the urban landscape, as well as the re-assessment of our place within the larger natural environment.

Below, I have organized my images as collections. My MFA Thesis is composed of three major works, Human / Nature, Sometimes Islands, and Data Mountains. They are sculpture installations and I have outlined various images depicting the process for the making of each piece. Rather than one final piece, they are all important individual elements that relate to one another.

collection of maps

During the months of December, 2020 through February, 2021, I made several trips to thirteen neighborhoods in the DFW area. I recorded my routes and later I made maps with the physical shapes I made. I wanted to take on the role of a cartographer. Historically, cartographers had to physically measure distances and travel to the places they were mapping. Many traveled the rivers and the oceans, others on foot. Satellites gave birth to GIS, Geographic Information Systems which is used widely to provide maps and data.

During the week of February 17th, Texas had a historic weather event followed by many other disasters. There was about 6 inches of snow accumulation making the collection of sticks impossible. We also had rolling power outages and water shortages. Needless to say, I did not go out this week so I made a map of my movement inside my house for four hours. That is how much I moved. It was freezing inside the house due to the rolling power outages. I was in a pile of blankets trying to keep warm. Many suffered great losses. This week will be remembered.

Collection of videos

Making work, showing work, drone, walking. All for the making of Legend Systems: an escape to a hidden land. March 2021.

Test on the pond for Sometimes Islands – to make sure they float.

Time lapse video of the morning sun interacting with Data Mountains. 8am-11:30am.

Time lapse video of the morning sun hitting Data Mountains when installed at UNT Environmental Education, Science and Technology Atrium, March 2021

View from a drone.

I recorded video while collecting sticks for Data Mountains. This is one neighborhood. I think it’s Grapevine, Texas.

Sometimes Islands, recent rain flooded the area and the islands finally float freely.

Data Mountains, installed in the Environmental Education, Science & Technology Atrium

The making of Data Mountains, many hours weaving it together.

This is me walking to give a sense of scale

Sometimes Islands Installation – For scale. This is during a very dry time.

View from a drone. Thanks Zak Loyd

View from a drone with the help of Zak Loyd

Also Zak Loyd

Legend Systems: an escape to a hidden land

Installation Images

Environmental Education, Science and Technology Atrium, University of North Texas

The installation is comprised a collection of soils and rocks, maps, video, terrains, and a large sculpture made with tree branches and sticks. The Atrium’s large windows let in the morning sun and it creates a very dramatic shadow.

This is a close-up of the sticks tied together with twine. The tags identify sections of the different neighborhoods where they came from.

I spent more than 45 hours weaving the sticks together. I timed myself every time I worked one it because I wanted to emphasize the element of labor in the work.

Collection of soils and terrain. Also a map of soils identifying their original location

Data Mountains in the morning sun

Collection of rocks and soils. Some rocks are covered in crystals that I made with Borax. I call them faux crystals.

Third Nature Terrain. This is made with soil I collected from various public lands in Texas during 2019-2020

Third Nature Terrain. I wanted to create my own territories. I wanted to create my own land.

During my walks I found several interesting objects but I only picked up a few.

Collection of maps and journals. Each map has a corresponding journal entry.

Head Terrain. This is a mini replica of Human/Nature Sculpture Installation.

I just loved the drama of the morning sun interacting with Data Mountains. It gives it like a second identity.

Data Mountains, side view.