Archive for April, 2009

What Photography Offers:

April 23, 2009


Nearby, Tim sat and shivered.

Nearby, Tim sat and shivered.

Cole was looking to gather the last of the light.

Cole was looking to gather the last of the light.

Gary Snyder – Poet and Bioregionalist

April 16, 2009

“Be these things as they may, in Snyder’s work what some of his critics may deem romanticism is balanced by an evident devotion to facts, appreciation of human practicality and capability, expressions of joy found in physical work, interest in science, and continual rumination on responsibility.” Wikipedia – Gary Snyder

Poetry is becoming that much more undeniable in my practice.  Through paint and words i search for an understanding — not an answer to a question — a down to earth record of commentary on my place in the world.  Perhaps, this is an effort to distinguish my existence or a hope to not fade away quickly in the future.  However, it is an impulse i have to record my responses and feelings to places and people.  The connection established is re-affirmed in my studio and as time passes by.

Romanticizing or having my work labeled as sentimental is a by-product of focusing on the mannerisms of my subject matter.  Gary Snyder is a fine example of a poet who was also cornered (or cornered himself) into a place where this kind of commentary had the tendency to stick to his work.  I noted this small part of Snyder’s Wikipedia article as a reminder that sentimentality is simply one part of a larger, more complex feeling when coming to this type of work.  In turn, i feel my romantic ideas of place — the place i am in, Peaks Island, islands in general — display a similar entaglement of the joys: wandering and losing your way; appreciation of individual and collective response-ability; the record of blazed trails and gestures devised in effort move through the world; and an interest in questions of direction and divining answers.

Snyder’s work in theories of bioregionalism brings another noteworthy element of his practice into relation with my own.  One of the core values of bioregionalism is to dilineate human areas based on the diverse nature of flora, fauna, and georgraphy that create boundried regions based on the organic construction and play between local ecologies.   This is different than dividing people based on political maps or city limits etc.  The more diverse a locale, the more resilient the ecosystem is to provide for those that dwell in that place over a long period of time.

Diverse techniques used in execution of my observation and response to a place are exampled in my practice — and collaborations with others — to become a bioregional metaphor.  Admiring the bioregionalist theory  and their specific analysis of place leads me to recognize the similar desire both of our practices have for exalting the diversification of one locale.  How this emerges in my work is in the multiple responses i conjure from one local area.  Paintings, drawings, photographs, interviews, poems, kits, etc.  Each individual creative path loops back in between other paths and creates a tangled way of understanding.  This way, this web — this structure — becomes an ecology on its own terms, a practice ever changing, growing, persevering, adapting, and dieing.