Embarking on a transformative six-week artist residency at the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, Door County, I immersed myself in the enchanting winter, Bayside landscape.  Every day, my ritualistic run through Peninsula State Park served as a foundation for inspiration. Drawn to the mesmerizing barn quilts that adorned the countryside, I translated their geometric allure into mandala-like tessellations, a daily visual journal of my residency.

Crafted with meticulous precision, my body of work materializes through copic and prisma markers, alongside micronpen on watercolor paper. Thirty panels, mounted on reclaimed cedar planks sourced from Door County, intricately depict each day's experience in Fish Creek. The barn-inspired tessellations capture the essence of the rural surroundings, forming a symbolic tapestry of my residency journey.

These drawings, a harmonious blend of meticulous detail and vibrant hues, not only symbolize the daily rhythms but also encapsulate the spirit of Fish Creek, WI. The reclaimed cedar planks serve as a tangible connection to the local environment, grounding the artwork in the very essence of Door County.

The narrative thread of my residency extends to a leather and quilt-covered book, housing corresponding drawings. This book becomes a cohesive storytelling medium, unveiling a visual diary of lakeside barn discoveries. Each page turns like a chapter, inviting viewers into the narrative woven by the rural landscapes and my artistic exploration.

In this body of work, I invite the audience to experience the confluence of nature, art, and personal journey—a visual testament to the transformative power of artistic immersion in a place steeped in rich cultural and natural history.

This exhibition at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte’s Lambla Gallery is a compelling exploration that delves deep into the intricate interplay between art, science, and the localized geological heritage. At its core lies the inclusion of UNCC’s geology collection, a treasure typically concealed from public view, much like the concealed core material of our Earth, the metaphorical backbone of our universe.

In Erratic Accretion, we embark on a visual journey that combines a dynamic fusion of artistic elements, including the masterful use of India ink drawings, redacted field guides, collaged textbooks, and altered photographs. These elements become a critical lens through which we scrutinize how information is shared and how it shapes our perceptions of truth.

By presenting the University's hidden geology collection and shedding light on the influence of trusted materials and sources, this exhibition invites viewers to participate in a broader discourse at the crossroads of art, science, and the preservation of knowledge. It advocates for a more inclusive and open approach to knowledge dissemination, prompting us to question who possesses the authority to define what is true and ultimately influencing our collective understanding of science and the Earth's history.

"Through my artistic practice, I invite viewers to engage in a dialogue between the past and the present, the natural and the human-made. By manipulating and rearranging these materials, I highlight the inherent beauty found within the seemingly mundane. The resulting assemblages become a visual representation of the transformative power of time, erosion, and human intervention."

I this exhibition, delve into the captivating world of geology, drawing inspiration from the rich resources of UNCC’s geology collection, Earth Studies department, library, and archives, as well as my personal collection of mineral books. Through this multidisciplinary exploration, I seek to unravel the hidden narratives embedded within geological formations and the traces left by human interactions with the environment.

Geology, with its vast timescales and transformative processes, serves as a metaphorical framework for understanding the layers of history and memory that shape our existence. By merging the scientific and artistic realms, I aim to capture the essence of geological phenomena through the accumulation and juxtaposition of diverse materials.

Drawing from the University's geology collection, I examine the geological artifacts and specimens as fragments of a larger narrative. By repurposing these relics, I aim to breathe new life into them, enabling viewers to appreciate their beauty and contemplate their significance. The integration of detritus from both the University's collections and my own personal archives adds another layer of complexity, intertwining the geological and human narratives in unexpected ways.

Through my artistic practice, I invite viewers to engage in a dialogue between the past and the present, the natural and the human-made. By manipulating and rearranging these materials, I highlight the inherent beauty found within the seemingly mundane. The resulting assemblages become a visual representation of the transformative power of time, erosion, and human intervention.

"Erratic Accretion" challenges preconceived notions of geological exploration and blurs the boundaries between art and science. By showcasing the interplay between geological artifacts, detritus, and artistic expression, I aim to provoke contemplation about our place in the natural world and our role as stewards of the environment.

Ultimately, this exhibition seeks to illuminate the interconnectedness of all things, revealing the intricate relationships between geology, human history, and personal narratives.

Seeded from images of a tree, a stump, and a bush appropriated from a gameboy game from the 90s.-- the panel format established from the standard gameboy resolution of 160 x 144 px, 20 x18 grid or 8 x8 tiles. The paintings' growth are captured with a time-lapse gif, continuing to become overgrown with collaged images of foliage and layers of innumerable shades of green.

Benefits of the color green: for its proven meditative attributes, and the human eye's ability to see more shades of green than any other color.

Colloquially, this work, 'Go Touch Grass" - referring to the internet idiom that essentially means "get off the internet and go outside." People online use it as an insult when someone seems out of touch with reality, especially on social media. It's also become a meme, with many image macros featuring images of people touching grass .

Empirical Evidence of Escarpment

To search for Evidence of the Niagara Escarpment, I stayed with the Al & Mickey Quinlan Residency at the Dome House in Door County, WI.  During the eight weeks there, I collected 35mm photographs from the surrounding property, Whitefish Dunes State ParkCave Point County Park,  Door County Land Trusts, the Nature Conservancy properties and gracious neighboring locals. As an exercised art practice, I spent the eight week residency running and creating daily drawings.  Special thanks to the Quinlan family, the Miller Art Museum and Chicago Scanning for their efforts to help digitize the suite of large scale drawings. 
Original drawings are available for purchase! (see below)
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Downloadable PDF
containing High Resolution of all 56 Drawings! 

photos by Adam White of Doc My Art

In 1978, Door County resident, Albert Quinlan built the Dome House, a self-regulatory home—entirely of chicken wire, rebar, and Ferro cement - one that would require minimal cooling and heating, maintaining an even 55 degree temperature from the earth surrounding it. 

The home features two domes, one as living quarters and one that served as a studio. The open concept, dunescape home includes an indoor botanical area, all meant to enhance the outdoors - in.

With an epicenter at the Dome House, I often ran on the Brachiopod Trail, which gets its name from the two-shelled marine animal found in the Silurian Sea, once covering Door County about 425 million years ago.   I trekked along a rock wall embedded with fossils, clear evidence of the ancient ocean floor, now peninsula, beneath my shoes.

Accompanied by the gentle rumble of Lake Michigan’s waves, I departed my trail eastward along the shoreline, shaded by white cedars that can attach themselves easily to rocks, making them one of the more common trees.  The trail winds on a rock shelf overlooking the lake, where it would have been common for Native Americans to spearfish sturgeon.

Inland, the trail is lined with thimbleberry and elderberry bushes, and the flowering plant yarrow, that has been used medicinally for staunching blood flow.  The shallow soil layers of the Door Peninsula are due in part to glacial trauma,  scraping the land multiple times over the last millennia, resulted in shrubby and relatively open landscape. 

Colorshifting Sugar Maples were plentiful to note time, along with American Beech trees, whose spiny nuts open after it drops from the tree. 
The rocky soil makes it difficult for trees to put down root systems; trees grow until their roots cannot support them and high winds blow them down. “Tip-ups,” or uprooted trees whose root system is exposed, often contain large rocks embedded in the root system.  

I trained myself to spot the rare baneberry plant, whose distinctive white berries earned it the name “doll’s-eyes” for their uncanny similarity to an antique doll’s porcelain eyes, highly poisonous - can cause cardiac arrest.  I also learned to notice shifts in edible Mycelium over time, edges where Rattlesnake Ferns would catch more light, and herbaceous Trillium on the forest floor.

I routed back to the Dome House on a significant ridge of rocks caused by glacial melt-off rising and falling in erratic succession.  The accompanying dunes speak to the awesome power of time and energy at work upon the shoreline. I too traced the land, acting as a force.

Back at the residency, I would stretch on the mossy top of the Dome, observe blue jay gangs, hear thrashing bucks, identify exotic mushrooms and remain open to shifting perspectives.  I recorded my observations on daily drawings - pasting in collected maps, repeating symbols, running specimins through the printing press and defining the ephemeral neighborhood lexicon. 

Click to BUY an orginial Dome House drawing
BUY the Downloadable PDF - containing High Resolution of all 56 Drawings!