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.
For the past 15 years, 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.
Series consists of 71 paintings and 42 watercolors – ongoing.