In the heart of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, where hydraulic fracturing wells are prevalent, I worked as an artist-in-residence at Soaring Gardens Artists’ Retreat, Laceyville, to create drawings about the rural landscape. Immersed in the bucolic countryside and farming culture of the surrounding area, I ran headlong into the issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing, also known in the popular lexicon as “fracking.” The tension created by the natural verdant landscape of farmland and the people who endure there set against a backdrop of man-made, geometric hydraulic fracturing wells interested me and my fellow artists-in-residence. Together, we researched the history, function and environmental questions surrounding hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania as well as nationwide. My intention as an artist is not to take a stand for or against, but rather to encourage dialogue, heighten awareness, and above all create art that emphasizes a poetic response to the world rather than a literal response.
My drawings and watercolor paintings on paper for this project draw a parallel between the rural environment, steeped in history and nostalgia, and the nature drawings of Old Masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci. Detailed landscape drawings are accompanied by diagrammatic renderings of hydraulic fracturing wells, addressing the tension between machine and nature, the controlled and the wild. Intended as questions rather than statements about risk and responsibility, the drawings are isolated in fields of empty space that speak of deep country quiet as well as the disappearing landscape threatened by environmental instability and uncertainty.