The natural (and urban) places where we live have stories to tell, hidden in the landscape of trees, boulders, streams, as well as in the city's network of alleys, balconies and green spaces. For American artist Rena Detrixhe (previously), these hidden stories are found in nature's bounty of seeds, petals, shells, and berries -- materials that can be repetitively patterned and shaped with the hands to highlight her own relationship with nature.
Detrixhe's latest works utilize the russet-coloured earth that's found around Detrixhe's current home near Tulsa, Oklahoma, which are then transformed into earth-based 'carpets' bursting with geometric patterns. Watch Detrixhe construct one of these earth carpets in this time lapse:
Using this harvested soil as the material for these works, which have been stamp-patterned with modified shoe soles, Detrixhe says that she is drawing on all the history that's encapsulated within this ground, and our relationship to it and to nature itself:
This rich red earth is the land of the dust bowl, the end of the Trail of Tears, land runs and pipelines, deep fault-lines and hydraulic fracturing. There is immense beauty and pride in this place and also profound sorrow. The refining and sifting of the soil and the imprinting of the pattern is a meditation on this past, a gesture of sensitivity, and the desire for understanding. It is a meticulous and solitary act.
Detrixhe's symbolic use of the rug to shape this loose earth is deliberate: in our culture, it's something luxurious that the wealthy and powerful can own. The use of something so abundant, ever-changing and free -- namely, soil -- to create this object of luxury also seems to throw the idea of privately 'owning' land into question, much like how Tibetan Buddhist monks are suggesting about the illusion of permanence when they create and then ceremonially destroy a mandala constructed of sand.
Yet, at the same time, in merging earth with the prestige found in a luxurious carpet, Detrixhe is also suggesting that the soil beneath our feet is just as "precious" as any meticulously woven rug, something that we humans seem to sometimes forget.
As Detrixhe's carefully laid-out earth carpets show, there is an abundance of untold stories and hidden histories in the soil; sometimes it takes an imaginative mind and a steady hand to dig and smooth them out for all to see. For more, visit Rena Detrixhe.
[Via: This Is Colossal]