Spanning years and even decades, themes emerge and offer guidance for the best ways to weave creative gestures and expressions to cultivate relationships with the natural world and folks with whom we share it.
Looking back through ancestral generations to understand how to lay the best path forward, themes explored are informed by the acts of my forefathers and are guided by the urge to restore the impacts they’ve had. I feel a great affinity to non-human species with whom we share our spheres. I admire the mothers and grandmothers who keep our families whole and communities functioning. These are a few of our stories…
Image of Lee Lee installing .debris. at the Chateau de la Napoule, France by Michael Gadlin
SEED :: disperse
Visit the collaborative site to learn how I work collaboratively to develop methodologies around community restoration, including re-establishing native foodways, pollinator pathways and work with ecologies at the land/water interface.
Studies on the wildlife supported by the native plants I’m working with in wild land restoration as part of SEED :: disperse. These drawings are a lesson in relationships as I spend time exploring the forms of the creatures who rely on the particular plants whose seeds we disperse.
A Year in Grandpa’s Garden
A series of watercolor created with Thatcher Gray as a toddler follow the development of our Permaculture garden at the Distillery in Taos, NM. Accompanied by seasonal garden themed haiku written by grandpa, the series reflects a cross generational collaboration around growing food.
Fish markets in Kalihi & Chinatown of Honolulu
Intha market, Burma
Weave is a collection of paintings reflecting the social, political and emotional manifestations of the ancient art of weaving. These figurative paintings are the result of travels through China, Myanmar and South Carolina. Capturing weavers in their daily rituals, the paintings blend woman with machine in a celebration of the ancient art and a contemplative measure of the gains and losses of our global times.
Industrial Silk Mills in Sou Chou, China
Cottonweavers on Inle Lake, Burma
Lintheads from South Carolina
.debris. is an international, collaborative project which is being created as a response to the issues surrounding single use plastic. The work reflects the literal problem of plastic in marine environments while offering a symbolic representation of the chemical body burdens carried by wildlife and humans alike. In presenting these issues, we are asked to consider misplaced notions of “disposability” calling in to question consumer driven waste which has devalued what is in fact a very important material.
Artworks in this section were created in tandem with building an international response to plastic and chemical pollution detailed here.
Chateau de la Napoule, France
It was at the Chateau de La Napoule .debris. was initiated during a 2012 residency that was geared towards creating work with a young audience in mind. The question, ‘Do You See What I See?’ was intended to celebrate the many perspectives through which our age, experiences, and culture inform our creation of and connection to art.
In three years .debris. grew into a collaborative response to the problems presented by single use plastic & petro-chemicals. The work reflects the literal problem of plastic in marine environments while offering a symbolic representation of the chemical body burdens carried by wildlife and humans alike. Through exploring these issues, we are asked to consider misplaced notions of disposability, calling in to question consumer driven waste which has devalued what is in fact a very important material.
Turtles swimming in a plastic ocean
The way we consume plastic has become pervasive all over the world. In quiet ways, the material passes through our lives with little or no attention to where it goes after it leaves our spheres. It is familiar, too familiar, so that is has distorted our notions of value and waste. This series explores the common ways which plastic passes through our lives. The situations are familiar to us all, even as the environments may be foreign. “Transportation” is represented by a dug out canoe traveling through the Okavango Delta in Botswana. A “Restaurant” is a street stall in Mandalay, Burma. The “Toystore” is on a boat in the floating market in the Mekong Delta, and “Housing” is a lakeside community made of recycled material in Cambodia. The range of situations reflects how wide spread our consumption of plastic really is.
Insect Apocalypse: Bombus
In tandem with exploring the impacts of plastic pollution, I was digging into the post-industrial western landscape in consideration of the role that chemical pollution plays in the alteration of the ecologic systems in the high desert steppe. This work considered the long term impacts of chemicals and heavy metals that came out of the Leadville mines. Mining, digging up material essential to mobilities continues to have terrible impacts on ecologies, especially in unregulated areas.
In the first years of his life, I lived with my son in New Mexico. As I started feeding him, I also started exploring the chemical impacts of petrochemicals in food production in the American West. This started a deep exploration on mobilities and the imposing role petrochemicals play in our lives.
rain | refinery| slaughter
Eastern Colorado Plains
crop | Titan
Pine: an intimate look at lodgepole pines impacted by beetle kill
war – genocide
Before exploring the full extent of our eco-cide, I dug deep into the history of genocide, with a particular focus on confronting the acts of my forefathers. Up until my son was born, I collaborated with survivors, artists, activists and academics to develop ways of engaging people around this traumatic topic despite the severity. Because war is often driven by scarcity, this period gave me deep insight into contemporary impacts of unbalanced consumption. I found humility. In the long term, humbleness has allowed internal spaces to open in regards to learning from healing acts which inform and inspire the collaborative nature of my work to this day.
Neo Rio 2020: HOME
Hosted by LEAP (Land Experience & Art of Place) as a virtual engagement during the COVID19 pandemic, the work explores ideas of HOME. Our work situates ideas of home and displacement as well as the severance of the landscape while we reflect on the place we currently dwell.
Cambodia | Rajavihara
Ta Prohm temples in Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Markets & Mobilities
Confined Shrines of Mandalay
Intha Market on Inle Lake
US war in Iraq
Vrnda: portraits of a Combat medic’s mom
Titan missile silo