First There is a Mountain

2013, foamcore, paint, graphite, wax, steel, silkscreen on reflective mylar, 10' x 18' x 10' (total installation)

This installation encourages multiple viewing perspectives: A stately mountain begins to unravel before a sublime sunset/explosion. From this perspective, the mountain is the protagonist, organic, yet solid and formidable. Inspired by Albert Bierstadt’s paintings of the American west that often included a sublime view of a mountain and a sunset. I merged one of Beirstadt’s sunsets with an image of an explosion for the printed image. The mountain form itself is formidable, but lifeless, formally referencing the monumental Half Dome from Yosemite National Park.

Upon approaching the steel-framed open face of the mountain, a shift in scale offers a God's eye view of the industrial-sublime extraction industry fate for the mass. The view itself reflects a landscape in submission, with the epicenter of the terraced expanse is an amphitheater for Man to view his monumental conquest.

“First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is” is a Zen proverb relating to perspective. From afar, you see the mountain, when you climb the mountain it disappears, and upon descent, the mountain reappears.

I imagine this phrase in relation to the contemporary movement of matter and resources- First there is a mountain, then there is extractive industry/mass-production, mass-consumption and mass-disposal, then there is a different mountain- in the form of a landfill. A human-designed flow of matter is linear, whereas in all natural processes, matter is in a constant cycling.