“Spring begins as a lightning bolt streaks across the Southern sky, followed shortly by a shotgun boom of thunder that nearly wakes the dead. Summer nights, dark as pitch, fill these hills with the courting concerts of cicadas and flashing mating rituals of fireflies. Come fall, leaves bleed the red of life’s blood, preparing for winter’s dormancy where the landscape grows still and quiet…”
My artwork has been shaped by forty years of life in the American South. For me, the pursuit of making art is not about answers, but rather about raising questions. How will the American landscape and its condition be defined over the next century? Responding to memories, I build up expressive layers through drawing and painting in an effort to chronicle change over time.
With meditative and aerial perspectives, I equate my marks to those made by humans on the land. In search for an alternative sublime, I form relationships between line and geometry to demonstrate altered geographical expressions found in forests and farmland familiar to the Southern United States. I create a typology of marks linked to human actions such as excavating, ordering, and planting. As I dig deeper, topographical compositions expose imaginative core sections that are analogous to my inner self. On fertile ground, this abstracted landscape becomes my body and tells a history of life in the American South.
Hand Built Bird’s Nest by LaDawna Whiteside 2009