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Grasslands Drawings 2011 - 2012

Mixed media on paper
51” x 51” x varying height
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The seven “Grasslands Drawings” evolved from two big road trips that I took in 2010 and 2011 through the grasslands of Middle America—the great American prairie—and also parts of California. On those solo trips, I was mainly interested in taking photographs of the vast and abstract landscapes for which I am extremely fond. Some of these photographs inspired the drawings you see here.

For the photographs, I focused on a very particular visual quest. I was looking for lines in the landscapes. What I mean by lines included the obvious ones such as fence lines, railroad tracks and cornrows. It also included more virtual and ephemeral lines like shadows from telephone poles, lines of dust behind trucks on dirt roads, the moving edge of shadows cast by overhead clouds, the edges of adjacent fields of colors and the slivers of bright light between opaque structures.

Taken together, the seven drawings have this in common: They are three-dimensional to various degrees, and they are drawn with different kinds of lines—lines made by the application of color and the manipulation of the paper itself. These include the torn, cut, folded or hemmed edges of paper, the subtle outlines of shaped paper and adjacent shapes or fields of color. Thus, the drawings are defined by lines in two ways: they represent lines in the subject matter or narrative behind the drawing, and they are experiments in drawing with lines that are more three-dimensional than two-dimensional.

The resulting Grasslands Drawings are all landscapes and they vary from being very abstract—such as “Nebraska”—to quite literal and picturesque—such as “Iowa.” As drawings, the Grasslands series is both conceptual and constructed.