In 2010 I had two residencies in Europe. The first was for two weeks at the Henrietta Arp Foundation in Locarno, Switzerland. They provided an apartment and studio in what was once a guesthouse. Hans Arp’s villa is situated on a terraced garden with walking paths and working gardens, simulating the artist’s home and studio in the Southern Alps. The Arp Foundation is now a museum dedicated to his work. Original stone and bronze sculptures punctuate the grounds and gardens. In this tranquil setting, I made drawings to prepare for the second, more extensive residency at the European Academy of Fine Art in Trier, Germany.
There I had two exhibitions. One, curated by Stefan Phillipps, consisted of a show of my prints at a local art gallery. Simultaneously, an exhibition was held in the great hall of the Academy. This larger, more ambitious project, jointly curated by Dr. Gabriele Lohberg and Stefan Philipps, consisted of a large wall mural along with an installation of prints.
My idea was to transform the enormous space into a multifaceted, coherent installation. The photo sequence begins with preparing the mural wall and building interior walls to create a small, enclosed space. On the entrance wall, we hung a framed portfolio of Hobo Prints composed of twenty relief etchings. Across the hall we built a small room, 15 by 15 feet, to contain linocuts of wooded scenes from the wilderness areas of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. We also included linocut images from Northern New Jersey and Maine, near the Appalachian Trail.
Reminiscent of leaves in the forest, we dropped crumpled sheets of paper on the floor. As exhibition guests unfolded the papers, they found quotes by John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and other naturalists. These were printed in both English and German. On a large wall just outside this small, contained space, I painted a 13- by 15-foot mural to evoke the larger feeling of being in a forest.
The well-attended opening reception included speakers and a local television film crew. After the show went down, we invited local high school students to paint over the mural adding their own creative responses and interpretations. They painted animals, vegetation, and other images.
The final photos in the series show the wall being sanded down and repainted. This process took three days. Just as all forests change and constantly evolve, the mural was created, experienced and destroyed. In time, something else will take its place.