I live in Montana where there are many more animals than humans. The movement of creatures in the air and on the land influences my daily experience as I look to the sky and follow their imprints through the grass or snow.
This project centers around the idea of making tracks, leaving marks, and what is left behind. Potent themes of impermanence, time and human relationship to the natural world drive my focus and my observations.
My initial fascination with animal tracks began in March of 2011 during my artist residency at the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming. At the time of the residency, I was reading "The Tiger" by John Vaillant who describes reading tracks as one of the earliest languages:
"Before we learned to tell stories, we learned to read them. In other words, we learned to track. The first letter of the first word of the first recorded story was written - printed - not by us, but by an animal. These signs and symbols left in mud, sand, leaves and snow represent proto-alphabets. These cryptograms were life and death exercises in abstract thinking."
I am drawn to these ephemeral marks. Time and weather quickly erase them reminding me of the fragility of life. They also become inspiration for the simplest form of existence as we move on the earth.
Biology and art become integrated as the photographs map the pattern of migrations. My eyes frame the delicate remains of movement in an intuitive way as I think about how to live lightly on the land. My hand erases or adds to the final piece as I consider my own tracks.
What marks do I make? What will I leave behind?
Every so often we hear the current
of night music
from the gods who swim and
fly as we once did.
– Jim Harrison