As our cultures become more homogenized by mass media and consumerism, the one element that remains true to a region is its nature. Although we try to manipulate it to fit our needs, the landscape and the biological inhabitants characterize a region’s nature. It has been an omnipresent influence that has affected a region’s people and the culture. The knowledge describing a region’s distinguishing natural elements is being lost as generations become continually disconnected from a lifestyle that relies on the landscape for survival.
“Biological Regionalism” is a series of paintings that identifies the landscape and the fish that is distinctive to a region. As the series continues, I envision the project creating indigenous symbols of a culture.
Since 2000, I have lived in Western New York and have worked on several series of paintings that investigated Cuban and American culture. Several years ago, I began reading about local history and began researching local entomology, biological cycles of regional salmonids (trout) and the role of local rivers on culture. As I acquired more information about the region, I found myself being seduced by the angling art of Henry Inman, Thomas Doughty, Winslow Homer and Thomas Cole; the fish still lifes of Gustave Courbet, William Chase and Emil Carlsen; the landscape work of Martin Heade Johnson, Jose Maria Valesco and the early work of Alexis Rockman. The devotional painting approach that I incorporated in my earlier series has continued through to the present series. While the past work concentrated on issues relating to art history and elements of Cuban/American culture, the recent work continues the focus on art history while incorporating biological regionalism.
Recent works have investigated the issues that face humans and indigeneous species of flora and fauna that inhabit the bodies of water throughout the United States, Europe, Caribbean and Asia.
Series consists of 121 paintings and 42 watercolors – ongoing.