Barns of Shenandoah
The body of work for “Ghosts of a Forgotten Landscape” exhibition at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester, VA. July 13, 2019 - June 20, 2020.
This series is based on three tenants:
Humans are a part of and apart from nature
Nature is omnipotent, not us
Migration is the natural flow of organisms, including humans (a new focus)
I paint to share how our landscape affects me but also to express my thoughts and beliefs about the world. Below is an attempt to verbalize the concepts that inspire the Barns of Shenandoah paintings.
Through my painting practice, which is inspired by the landscape Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, I have begun to think more about the people of the Valley and how they interact with this gorgeous, natural environment. It is interesting that humans are both a part of nature and also distinctly apart from it.
There is a point where humans and nature overlap. This coming-together is symbolized to me in our historic, decaying barns.
I also believe that nature is the universe, thus all-powerful. Through the erroneous assumption that we are omnipotent (perhaps through belief in ordination by God), our society thinks we are destroying nature, but in reality nature will destroy us.
Lastly, there is a correlation between the first, Germanic immigrants to the Shenandoah Valley (which were some of the earliest immigrants to North America) and the migration of today. The unique bank barn of the Shenandoah Valley is the legacy of my Eighteenth Century German ancestors. Perhaps through remembering the reasons our ancestors had for leaving Europe, the hardships they faced on their journey across the Atlantic, and their struggles in the face of nature once here, more attitudes will soften towards the immigrants of today.