From the very beginning of my creative endeavors, foraging and collecting have been an important component; I spend a good deal of time in the forests, prairies and along the shores of the Mississippi collecting natural dye plants and other materials which I incorporate into my work to varying capacities. As an interdisciplinary artist, my practice is continuously expanding to incorporate new modalities of making, thinking and responding to the world around me. This fluidity and openness to change is important to my practice as it reflects my identity as a queer, non-binary individual. Situating my practice within a contemporary discourse of ecological concerns, I attempt to reframe gardening as a critical, social and artistic practice. Through explorations in both literary and visual arts, I put forth the argument that gardening is a social practice of self-sufficiency and sustenance, of remediation and of resistance to the hegemony of industrial agriculture. When we think of gardening in this way, we invite subtle recalibrations in our perceptions of cultural value that allow us to go beyond anthropocentric thinking and investigate new ways of relating to our environment.
The colonial ideology of mechanized production, an ideology focused on maximizing efficiency and yield, is one that permeates our relationship to the land and to our own bodies and selves. Stepping back from productivity, we make space for slow healing and remediative practices. My work, and its emphasis on slow labor, detail and craftsmanship, considers attention as a form of gratitude and engages directly with the processes of growth and decay. Sustaining an artistic practice and working closely with raw materials allows me to continually question my relationship to the planet and to explore ideas of anthropocentrism and deep ecology. While the themes and concepts I’m investigating in my work are immense in scale, I approach them from a personal dimension which allows viewers to connect with the work and with the environment in terms of their own subjective experiences. Paraphrasing the words of poet CAConrad, my practice is an exercise in thinking of the diseased planet as an extension of my own body, or, conversely, the healing planet as an extension of my healing body.