Odyssey A journey in land This body of work was inspired by the landscape. Specifically the journey on Interstate 55 between Chicago and Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. It is a journey I have made many times. What I initially experienced as a boring, monotonous journey became one of subtle beauty over time.
While driving I gradually became absorbed by the experience of moving through the landscape. The gradual undulation of the land from my driver's side window. The farmers ploughed and planted fields. The sporadic communities coming into view and passing me by. The way signs and overpasses would grow and expand as the ribbon of road unfurled before me.
Most important was the realization that almost all of what I experienced as nature through the window of my car was entirely man-made. From the farmers fields to the placement of trees, this was nature put into the service of man. It was not meant to be idyllic, but practical. Its beauty lay in the subtle contrasts between the undulating ground and man-made rectangular plots of land. The textures and colors of crops, trees and plant life against the man-made communities, the concrete roads and the expanse of sky above.
This body of work is a response to this experience. I have used natural materials from the landscape such as soil, tree branches and tree bark with man-made materials such as nails, rope, wire, and mirrors to develop the ideas. Some of the pieces are inspired by the experience of driving on Interstate 55. Others are markers or visual odes. Metaphors expressing reflections, thoughts and impulses toward the larger journey at hand.
The use of materials become for me a way of connecting the past to the present. Something that Man from all cultures has utilized to make sense of the world around him. They represent something universal and ultimately something much larger than ourselves.
To this end, it brought to mind a fellow traveler whose experiences sailing the seas many years ago inspired a number of my artwork titles. This is Odyssey, a journey in land.