Erin McKenny

Region: Northeast

There is an evolving disconnect between language and landscape. Language and story-telling were once intertwined with specific sites by people across time, from indigenous tribes to 19th Century Expansionists (Snake River, Black Hills etc...) I explore this idea by physically returning language to the landscape: painting poems about trees on pine cones and hanging birdseed and suet letters (that spell out birdcalls) in the trees. I imagine the letters of the alphabet taking root and growing into nature- a melding of thought and feeling. I imagine these letters as sculptural, of actually existing somehow in the landscape.

In my latest work, I make smaller micro-worlds within some of the smallest elements of nature: from processes at the cellular level to buds, grass and stones. These objects become animated: expressing things trapped, collected or filled. I think of these as a new vocabulary springing from the landscape, telling stories about human experience. In this way, the language already exists and needs to be identified or recorded. It is this tension between the stories that we place on the landscape and the stories that we get from the landscape that fascinates me.