This drawing was made on a trail in the Smoky National Park using my feet to apply ink. In places the paper picked up the texture of roots and rocks. This is both a drawing of something perceived by sight and a print of the real. We cannot touch a landscape. It is by definition something beyond our physical contact, a distant composition of expansive scenery viewed from a single point. And yet we often treat the ground that we can touch, feel and see in the immediate dependence of feet, as a merely subservient surface. Roots, rocks and earth in a flowing topography of ecosystems are overlooked. Most tourists tread over trails to arrive at the more desirable beauty of the overlook.
Using the movement of my feet to create a drawing requires an attentiveness to ground. It is being present to my process that guides the composition. However, the making of Shaconage was more contrived – I found myself forcing marks and the lines of roots pushing up into the paper to create a composition reminiscent of the smoky mountains landscape. The ground very literally became my method for creating a pleasing composition to set up before the viewer, untouchable. In the same way so many tourists hike these trails for the sol purpose of seeing the mountains rather than realizing they are in the mountains and their feet are making contact with them. In Shaconage the layered footprints- whether defined or partially wiped away- become a reminder of material source, of process over destination and a call to the viewer back into embodiment and tactile embrace.
This dance drawing was composed for a recently married couple to music from their wedding. Though commissioned, it became a personal mediation on the journey of union – the ground where two bodies converge or the threshold where the self becomes whole. This liminal space is murky, yet nuanced –like the drawing.