Mel Watkin

Region: Midwest

My recent works-on-paper are created using out-of-date, somewhat tattered road maps from my car’s glove compartment. By the time I finish with them they are significantly altered. On some maps, the roads become rivers or are clogged with flowering vines. In others, coastlines are flooded and inland seas are rehydrated. In my most recent series, entitled Sprawl, fungi and other rapidly multiplying species like yeast, war against urban expansion. In all of the work, erosion, water, overgrown plant life, and fungi have replaced humanity as the determining force of land. In some cases, my alterations could represent our geologic past, as well as our future.

The flowers, fungi, and other images I draw are compilations–inventions based on the real flora and fauna I encounter daily around my old farmhouse in rural southern Illinois. I try to imbue these natural forms with a sense of danger or foreboding. As we know from recent events, despite its beauty, complexity, and delicacy, nature can rear up and assert its control over our lives without a moments notice.