TRANSLATING DREAMS ONTO PAPER
Like many artists, I am concerned about our society’s alienation from nature, which of course contributes to our tragic ineffectiveness in combating climate change. During the isolation of the pandemic, I have begun delving more deeply into the problem in my artwork, particularly in the small prints entitled Translating Dreams onto Paper. I was partially inspired in this quest by a visit to a gated golf course community in Florida. While there, I commented on the beauty of the birds, ibis and egret, wading in a drainage ditch near the golf course. I also lamented that the land and water, once all theirs, were now limited to these peripheral areas. After a long puzzled silence, my companion replied, “You do love Nature, don’t you?” I was jolted by the dichotomy implied there, that nature and humans are separate categories, not inextricably conjoined and interdependent.
In this series, I am experimenting with mapping images of the brain upon, or juxtaposed with, photographs of nature. I recently came across the work of Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852-1934), considered the father of modern neuroscience. He produced over 2900 drawings, recently featured in a book entitled The Beautiful Brain, that explore the nervous system of humans and animals. In my new artworks, I am combining these depictions of the “workings of the brain” with fragile details of landscapes, real and imagined – creating questions about what is worth saving, and what is the responsibility of the human with the “beautiful brain.” Cajal once called his drawings “translating dreams onto paper.” With my photographic intaglio prints and my collagraphs, I aspire to do the same.