Date of exhibition August 24, 2018
Meta Tourist tracks my recent experience in India as an artist-in-residence. It is based on the premise that we are all travelers on the tour of a lifetime, one of 7.5 billion people on a planet 4.5 billion years old.
The cycle of turning and returning continues a theme of migration in my work, including a water rights residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute in 2016. My project looked at native and invasive flora and fauna along the Santa Fe River as a metaphor for the cultural exchange that historically follows the Camino Real as it parallels the river near my house.
The project I’d proposed in the fall of 2016 for a printmaking residency at the Chhaap FD in Baroda, Gujarat, focused on Gandhi and the practice of non-violent protest at a time of hostile political division in the U.S. After several weeks of touring forts and temples, my focus shifted to the repeating cycle of invasions, occupiers, protection, defense, rebellion and ongoing cultural exchange, while trade and commerce hum along and cows graze. The past didn’t seem that far away with people talking about building a wall to separate Mexico and the US back in the states. Like many tourists, I was seeking a new perspective. Like Gandhi’s spinning wheel and the wheel at the center of the Indian flag, I keep cycling around the same narrative, spinning together points of connection through contact with materials and the art making process.
Monotype and drypoint etching, collage, large figurative paper constructions, and paintings are the result of this ongoing exploration. Much of the work is printed on handmade cotton rag paper made from garment industry scraps at a small factory in Rajasthan. It embodies the cycling and turning that I’m responding to. Cotton plants grown in India, spun into thread, woven into fabric, pulverized, pressed, dried and reincarnated into paper, shipped to the USA via India Post.