Allegorically, this series is about the gathering of animals in an aspen grove. The clonal colony nature of an aspen grove, typically derived from a single seedling, is symbolic of the interdependence of ecosystems in the natural world and one generation’s impact on another. When a person enters a space where the collection of paintings is hung together they enter the grove. The ambassadors are already there, waiting, eyes sharply focused on the viewer.
The animals and the environment is quiet, there is no hooting of the great grey owl or howling of the grey wolf. The ask is to look. To contemplate. It is clear that the animals, the ambassadors, appear to be inquiring, keenly, fiercely. The titles of the paintings for most of the paintings begin with The Honorable, a title indicating eminence or excellence, the Latin Name, Common Name and the ambassador’s distinction as a representative or promoter of perspective or a way of being. For example: The Honorable Leo Montes, Mountain Lion, is the Ambassador of Patience and The Honorable Ursus Arctos, Grizzly Bear, is the Ambassador of Intuition. The areas of ambassadorship were designated with reference to indigenous traditions and folk lore.
As the artist it is my hope that this collection of works reminds the viewer that ambassadors throughout the natural world bring crucial wisdom, balance and insight, essential to the decisions that we make as a human species. It is critical that we, in this time of rapid ecological change, not forget to listen to the other-than-human inhabitants of our planet, when considering the health, wellbeing and future of the our rapidly changing ecosystems. We are all in this boat together. We must meet, maybe in a cool aspen grove, and learn from each other, listen, look and connect with patience, vulnerability, honesty, humility, balance and creative fortitude, even when it is hard, to cultivate a future in which generations of inhabitants will thrive.
While I currently live on a gorgeous small island in the Pacific Northwest, I was born and raised in Aspen, CO and the Rocky Mountains continue to feel like my native homeland. As a young person I spent beloved time in Jackson Hole, backpacking and riding horses as a summer camp counselor and with my family or when I was older riding and fly fishing with friends. This body of work was created with the Gros Ventre Valley, Yellowstone and Jackson Hole ecosystems as research sources and inspiration.