The Land is one of two works produced on a 2400-acre property in Sonoma, California – the other being a memory map of the 30-acre house and orchard complex in the NE quadrant of the property. These drawings were privately commissioned as a pilot project for a prospective artists’ residency programme. The travelling phase of the work was completed over a total of 60 days, in a series of visits spanning 18 months.
As with past mapping projects, the journey is undertaken in order that a mental image of the place might be recollected and laid out in the drawing process. The land is criss-crossed on foot, thoroughly explored, lived in, and gradually internalized. The work is solitary and non-systematic, and the mindset associative and indeterministic – my touristic-heuristic approach. The drawing itself is an annotation of the time spent and the impression left, rather than a factual or objective survey of the physical space.
Unlike past projects, however, The Land was done in an undeveloped wilderness, where there is little evidence of human interference beyond a network of old jeep tracks and ghost trails, a house and small olive orchard, a few ranching structures, and some pasture fencing. At the time of my arrival, there were only a handful of existing ‘proper’ names and nicknames associated with the property. It fell to me to lay new names on the land, so that I could understand it and remember it. In this sense, the names I gave it arose as mnemonic devices, and the land, in the process, as a Memory Palace of itself.
jmm, Feb ’18
A small edition of Giclée prints are available from Feast of Five, purveyors of the premium olive oil produced on the land.
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