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What exists in the void space left by the mine?

Engaging the notion of the void as both a landscape feature — the earthen absence created by hydraulic mining during the second half of the 1800s; as well as the human lives and ecosystems the Gold Rush “voided”, displaced, and erased; and as an analogy for the “magic dark” of perceptual space across which neurons form colorful, cross-sensory connections; my project explores what it means to listen with an extracted landscape. Through deep listening, a practice of open and inclusive listening created by composer Pauline Oliveros, I listen with the living sounds of the landscape as they appear as synesthetic color-forms in my perceptual space. Back at my studio, I use homemade charcoal, foraged pigment, and leftover acrylics to paint abstract compositions that reflect my experience of listening with each site. This mixture of natural, found, and industrially-produced, synthetic materials mirrors the material ecosystem of the mine and of our world in 2020. The eight paintings are themselves objects of their environment, subject to change and decay. Listening deeply in the void space of the mine allows me to shift from being out in the world to being embedded in it, and opens possibilities for an imaginative re-encounter with the mine as a complex, colorful living landscape home to a resilient, remediative ecology of interbeing.

I am interested in what it means to listen with: our bodies, each other, place. Navigating inner and outer landscapes using a soft-edged black shape as both a mirror and a metaphor for the unknown, I create art that reflects place through a colorful, embodied language of perception. Rooted in site-specific practices of deep listening, pilgrimage, meditation, foraging, and material alchemy, I transform underworld and waste stream materials into art.

My practice is currently based in Grass Valley, CA in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Working across disciplines and often in collaboration, my abstract art, mixed media collage, immersive installations and audio projects open portals into colorful realms of inner vision and outer landscape. ‘Listening in Void Space’ is my MFA thesis project through Sierra Nevada University’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts.