The work shown here is broadly concerned with how the effects of purposeful human actions, alongside uncontrollable factors of time and nature, alter both the current landscape and human agency within that landscape. The accrual of our past modifications in combination with what evolves over those remnants leaves us with physical traces of past lives. It provides a history of the land and our interactions within and upon it that can be read and evaluated through careful observation.
This body of work focuses on the five hundred year flood in Eastern Iowa. Despite the 2008 flood occurring four years prior to my arrival in Iowa City, I found that its aftermath strongly influenced my lived experience. As a newcomer to Iowa, it was common to have introductions begin with a story about the flood, often including snap shots of the raising flood waters against buildings that were no longer there. Additionally, the post-flood reconstruction of many University of Iowa buildings remained a constant of the time I lived there. I am interested in the irony of rebuilding the same buildings on almost the same ground that flooded in 2008 and how these actions demonstrate the stubborn perversity of American development procedures in the face of natural disasters; disasters often brought about by climate change. The frequency and consistency of weather-related emergencies I witnessed while living in Iowa City paralleled the physical and emotional remnants of the five hundred year flood. Every year, the river was sandbagged just in case the water got too high again, every year the “flood proof walls” went up and then come back down. Through the work I am confronting the challenge of relating to local history that I did not live through, yet strongly determined my environment.
As an artist whose work focuses on place, my work often moves between personal experiences within specific landscapes, to broad and encompassing depictions of our environments that could represent any or all aspects of the United States. While this work specifically refers to Iowa City, IA, I hope that it can also relate to similar efforts of construction and destruction occurring because of, or in spite of, climate change and its effects on our surroundings, throughout the country.