I haven't walked an Oregon beach in years and not run across at least one sandy and picked-over carcass of a duck, gull or fish. And the young growth along the floors of our forests seem half supported not by soil, but by the rotting nurse logs that have fallen victim to wind, water, disease, or some combination thereof.
A retired Forest Service employee, during a recent tour of the area around Sitka, used the tongue-in-cheek term morticulture to speak to the abundant life that takes residence in the decaying carcasses of trees. Regardless of the term used, the truth is inescapable: nature is as much a culture of death as it is of life. They are inextricably linked and the distancing effects of technology and culture do nothing to alter this. Once you step into any meaningful interaction with the landscape all of this becomes very apparent. You begin to not just analyze how the passing of life begets other life, but also consider where you fit into the present web: how you are consuming and (chillingly) how you might be consumed.
There is no shortage of precedent for glorifying death with the luster of gold. Above is one small work in progress that nods to that convention even as humanity is completely removed from the honorific.
For over a decade Jeffrey T. Baker has explored the elegiac and sublime through his mixed media artworks. He harbors an unapologetic predisposition for the decayed and imperfect.
Presented here are his thoughts on artistic process, inspirations, tutorials, and information about related upcoming events.
Posts prior to 2011 visit Subjective: The Artful Life