• ▲ ▽ ▲

    “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ▻ John Muir
  • Cosmos

    My art in general is about perception. How we perceive ourselves in the physical world and how we perceive what’s real or meaningful.

    This project, called Cosmos, is me exploring human perception by looking back at the experiences in my life where I had meaningful perceptual shifts. Most of these experiences involved the landscape and my emotional attachment to particular places. Part of each experience involved an expansion or a shift in how I perceive scale. for instance...an awareness of being on a ball of mud floating in space.

    Some of these experiences involve things not proven by science. There’s been a lot of that in my life and I make pictures to work through that.

    I also like to think about the earth long ago when there were less people and how it must have looked then. I’ll never know and that makes me a bit sad, but I deal with it by projecting into the future and imagining what it might be like to experience another planet before it’s civilized. I feel that science-fiction is a safe place for me to work through these ideas.

  • Empty The Cache

    In my photographic work I like to think about the experience of viewing artwork and how our perceptions and beliefs play a role in that. An obvious aspect of this is that we are bombarded with visual imagery in this media infested culture. It's fascinating to me how overexposure to certain types of imagery can change our feelings about the subject matter. Much like a word that gets overused, the overviewed subject matter tends to lose meaning. Through the widespread use of landscape imagery to sell conservation memberships or to sit behind sentimental quotes in the greeting card industry, certain images of the landscape have become almost repulsive. For instance, only a rare few still get to make work like Ansel Adams did - Sebastiao Salgado is a good example of someone still successfully doing this - National Geographic has done it well in the context of the magazine. This series explores ways to get beyond the photographic still life, calendar shot, botanical documentation, travel photography or the landscape as a backdrop to a fashion editorial. I've wondered: is there a way to clear the palate of our busy minds first so that we don't immediately dismiss the image as "just another picture of a landscape"?   I've inserted a blank shape into some of the images that could serve this purpose...other images show that nature, herself, actually has these meditative viewing areas available. "Empty The Cache" is a command on the internet that when performed empties all the information in your browser. For the health of the computer it's wise to periodically perform this task in your browser of choice. It frees the memory in your computer. Titles from left to right are: Empty The Cache,  A Break,  Smoke Break,  For The Afternoon,  Give Me A Minute,  A Bright Spot,  Tuesday,  I'm Not Sure Yet A Review of this work  by The Memphis Flyer
  • Primitive Plants

    PRIMITIVE PLANTS • 2013 This series is an ode to the first plants that existed on planet Earth. These first, primitive land plants helped create an oxygen-rich atmosphere suitable for animal life. These images have two parts: forms that are in-focus pointing to fact, and parts that are ethereal and point to the mystery of life underpinning all evidence. At the end of the Permian Period ( 251million years ago – before the Dinosaurs) there occurred the largest mass extinction Earth has ever known. Fossil records show that the primitive plants we use in humid terrariums, such as Mosses and Ferns, were around before that mass extinction and continued to thrive after. They survived it. They covered the earth easily with spore reproduction and their ability to trap moisture. Impressively, primitive land plants evolved into Angiosperms that bear flowers, fruits and seeds. These new plants could sustain animals through their stomachs, a more obvious use. (More obvious than breathing?) I find it fascinating that those original, primitive plant species continue to exist and serve a role in our complex web of life. They persist because they are relevant. Perhaps they will save our species from its own self-destructive folly in the future…? PS. All images in this series were created by shooting through the glass walls of terrariums I built with my two daughters.
  • Nurtured By Nature

    Roland Barthes wrote an essay called "Toys" about a child's creativity  being unleashed by non-representational objects, especially natural ones like wood. He said that pre-conceived toys caused kids to only want to imitate adult behavior thus limiting them from envisioning a new kind of life. What I'm documenting with this project, is children using natural, mostly non-representational objects to mimic, process and make sense of an adult world in which they find themselves. I have to contend with Mr. Barthes and say I'm not sure there is any way around learning through mimicry. That process seems to arise naturally from children. A child would pretend a piece of wood is a domestic object if they are 'trying out' domestic life. If they want to 'try out' caring for something a piece of wood could be a doll or pretend animal as much as a store-bought stuffed animal stands in for the real thing. My possible conclusion is that our human minds want to make meaning/narrative/story. No matter what landscape or setting a child finds themselves in or objects they have access to, they will get busy making meaning out of them. I'm sure that what meaning is made and what story gets told is affected by place and object. In the case of these two girls, there is a direct connection between their immersion in nature and how curious, philosophical, thinking-in- relationships, creative, inspired and inquisitive they are. I would say: being nurtured-by-nature helps play become the work of learning. I've continued this project on Instagram. The collection can be seen at my hashtag: #nurturedbynaturescc  “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”  - Mary Oliver
  • Is Also Death

    Because the garden saves my life, because I conjure happiness from among its stems. I reach into the spiderwebbed tangle and pull a warm fruit from its vine. I listen to the birds converse about the seeds and brush the wispy grass with my hand. I watch the light move and know there's a place the light won't hit. It helps me to consider that in every living moment is also death. The garden understands this better than most. Petals and Vines Garden - Summer 2012 - 2013  
  • The Green Diaries…A Southern Love Affair

    Growing up in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana I was accustomed to lush, romantic landscapes. Dramatic in scope, rolling, bucolic and pastoral—filled with 'the perfect view'. It was those settings that sealed the deal between me and the landscape. In Memphis I could not find 'the landscape' so my relationship with Memphis became like a bad marriage. There aren't many grand views in Memphis but Memphis is truly a forest. If you look between the pavement you can see it. I became determined to find its beauty, and I think I have. In fact, I've fallen a little bit in love with it. These images are a collection of photographs from 2010-2013. They were taken around Memphis in Shelby County as well as 3 driving hours out in different directions. Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas. I have continued the project with my iphone on Instagram using the hashtag: #thegreendiariesscc
  • Fungi

    This is a collection of the Fungi I've encountered in Shelby County since 2009 when I began recording them. Some are edible, some medicinal, at least one known deadly and the rest, still a mystery to me. Locations are Overton Park, Shelby Forest, and Shelby Farms. Fungi are one way nature works to adapt and thrive and continue its cycles of renewal despite the imposed human element. Fungi are busy healing the Earth, making soil, eating the dead, completing the cycle that leads to renewal. They are an essential part of the Mississippi River Valley. In fact, their presence signals the health of this ecosystem. This documentary work is made in the spirit of conservation. This collection is ever expanding on my Instagram with the hashtag #fungiscc
  • Lichen

    Lichen are the result of a symbiotic relationship between Algae and Fungi. Lichen from Rusellville, AL - Shelby Forest, Millington, TN - Nesbit, Mississippi This documentary work is made in the spirit of conservation.  
  • Geology

    From my birthplace, Brasil, my mother brought shells, corals, dried starfish and seahorses. I spent time in early childhood, examining them in awe, smelling them and getting to know the feel of the surfaces. The colors and forms I fell in love with. Later in childhood we spent summers in the upper peninsula of Michigan on Lake Superior. There, my parents and I collected and coveted stones and pebbles. They  lined the windowsills of the home I was raised in. I've collected stones throughout my life from different places and asked friends who traveled to bring me a stone from various exotic locations worldwide. Stones have been given and received in love. My home now in Memphis, TN is close to AR where many crystals (and sometimes diamonds) can be found in the earth. My husband and I have taken our daughters to excavate crystals and fossils passing the love of geology and artifacts on to them. For now, we keep moving stones, minerals, and fossils around the surface of the earth—satisfying some deep attraction we have to keeping them close by. The project continues on Instagram at my personal archive #geologyscc
  • Palm Reading

    In '94 the summer after I graduated from high school  I went back to my birthplace in Brazil for the first time since I'd left at the age of two. It was a sort of coming-of-age, returning-to-my-roots moment before I started College. While there I traveled to a small island in Porto Seguro, Bahia and there, I encountered an old man who firmly grabbed my hand, stared at my palm and told me I had more past lives than any person he'd ever seen. Could somebody really know something about the life of a living being by reading the lines on their body? The shadows created by the height of a tree and the lines of vines, roots and branches are like lines on a palm telling the story of the forest, it's history. Our Earth bodies can be read like a book. Much like Odin in Norse Mythology who read fallen branches under the World Tree where he hung for a night and created a prophetic language called Runes, I have become fascinated by the lines I find in my environment. This collection can be found on Instagram at the hashtag: #linediariesscc .
  • Deeper Down

    The Memphis Zoo Aquarium images taken in Spring of 2012 explore the tension between artificial and natural. Walking slowly around the warm and dark aquarium evokes a peaceful feeling that I suppose taps into my time spent in a uterine world when I was a fish for a second, before taking human form. Glimpsing this underwater world offers an opportunity for reflection on deeper matters. Aquariums are pure fantasy. For me, the fantastical delight is coupled with disgust that mankind uses finite resources to isolate and capture nature for its own amusement. In the far future, will aquariums no longer be prioritized as a necessary reason to burn coal or will they be highly treasured as one of the last places many species of aquatic life can persist? These contradictions made this series interesting for me. I find that shooting through the glass and having the image obscured by this manmade material is part of the beauty and the necessary tension in these images. My seven year old marine biology loving daughter came up with the title "Deeper Down" for this project...
  • Place Paintings

    These paintings made from 1994 - 2013 are me working through ideas on time, place, transformation, memory, nostalgia, earthly and celestial bodies. I always have a hard time looking at my paintings once they are finished. I actually feel embarrassed. I struggle to  commit to ideas in paint, so paintings are always a stepping stone.
  • Paintings With People

    These paintings made from 1994 - 2013 are me working through ideas on time, place, transformation, memory, nostalgia, earthly and celestial bodies. I always have a hard time looking at my paintings once they are finished. I actually feel embarrassed. I struggle to  commit to ideas in paint, so paintings are always a stepping stone.
  • Idő – Tempo

      This was the first project Eszter Sziszk and I collaborated on together. We loved the process and result so much that we want to do many more of them in public places. We're dreaming of airports, office buildings etc. We're calling our collaboration: BETWEEN WORLDS COLLABORATIVE This first one was funded by the Downtown Art Commission in Memphis, TN for their temporary public art project called the Mosaic Art Walk. This is what I say about it: "Idő - Tempo are the words for TIME in Hungarian and Portuguese, the native languages of our birthplaces. This piece is about how a place changes throughout time. We reflect on how people change places and places change people—how Memphis has changed us. The trees stood before and they stand now, like these old forgotten buildings. The river and the people are akin in their constant flow.  We discovered while making this piece that we both abscond to the Gulf of Mexico with our families once-a-year. I think this is a common practice among Memphians...to make the journey South like the river itself and fling ourselves into the ocean."  - Stephanie Cosby Here are Eszter's words on this piece: "The clouds are rivers that already know the sea. Water is always a very important symbol in my artwork. It represents cycle, birth, time. Water is necessary element for life, feed the trees around us. Memphis is the city of the river, amazing big trees and a lot of history. In our lenticular print installation we intend to show this three topic and a very flimsy transition in between them."Eszter Sziksz 
  • The Circular Reflection

    In Spring 2014 I was asked by Crosstown management to create a storefront window installation for the Cleveland Street Flea market. With a Circular Reflection I experimented with combining paint, photographic prints, live plants and dried plant material. About this piece: I adore and rely on the wild landscapes of planet Earth to put me to rights. It seems the more I experience the Earth and observe its systems and intricacies the more I am led to remember that this ball of mud with all its complex systems is spinning through space. I find myself in an exquisite moment where I'm aware of my life in comparison to the vast galaxy and beyond.  That moment when I feel like an ant compared to it all—I love that moment. This experience of the wild landscape leading me to the stars always leads me back to the landscape—it’s a completely circular reflection, every time. Even 100 years feels too short in the gaze of a great love.
  • Devil’s Fruit

    These images of  Ballet Memphis performing Devil's Fruit are by Ari Denison © 2013 Choreographer Julia Adams chose my photographic work with the fungi of the mid - south region // Natural History Project to incorporate into her set design. I created work from those documentary images that was projected onto the stage background and onto umbrella props that acted as mushroom themselves. The dancers interacted with the projections...making them more than just the set, but also part of the dance itself—its story. In one image the projections are visible on the skin of the dancers as they become part of this Kingdom of Fungi themselves. The Fungi Kingdom is important to the Mississippi River Basin (as it is everywhere) because all living plant life is intertwined with a mycelium network that keeps it fed, watered, and growing. It's an information network for plants. The fungi are a part of the death/birth cycle—eating the fallen and making soil for new to grow. Learn more in Paul Stamen's book Mycelium Running or watch this Ted Talk he gives. News about the River Project:

    River as muse, part 2: heralded River Project returns

    World-premiere of River Project 2 opens October 19th

    Ballet Memphis takes brilliance to the river, By Jon W. Sparks

     

     

     

  • Mini-Landscapes ◆ Container Plantings

    Plants, flowers, vines, sticks... I make mini- landscapes, contained landscapes. I can do this in an appropriate indoor setting, or outdoors. Sometimes I do this for events on a table top or on a stage. My inspiration comes from the wild - the forest, the sea, the desert, the mountain and I translate that into a domestic environment. The vintage wagon and bathtub design here are inspired by Brazilian Landscape Architect, Roberto Burle Marx. The table designs were for Crosstown Art's book signing and dinner with Michael Pollan, a truly delightful food writer.