Shawn Bitters

Region: West

My rockfall and rock pile sculptures are readable geological formations. Each is composed of twenty-six paper stones, one for each letter of the alphabet, multiplied hundreds of times, in various colors and sizes. These works are personal landscapes built of language. In the short story “Symbols and Signs” by Vladimir Nabokov, a character believes that nature is communicating directly to him, through everything he sees, whether the arrangement of clouds or a network of branches. Mankind has a long history of reading nature, through soothsayers, prophets, and scientists. It is a short step from understanding how a certain environment works to thinking that the environment is communicating with us. By assigning nature a voice and a language, we lend it human characteristics. I am fascinated by the transition from understanding nature to personifying it. The urge to lend our own thoughts and characteristics to the physical phenomena that shape our environment is irresistible, because the result is to render them understandable.