This gallery includes paintings depicting native and invasive species of plants found in the woods of the Hudson Valley. Additional works from the series can be found under The Black Rock Forest Residency.
Many invasives were intentionally brought here for their beauty, hardiness, and fertility. Without natural predators, they overpopulate and out-compete native species. This damages biodiversity, which is crucial to a healthy ecosystem. Because plants are where sunlight (energy) enters the food chain, invasive plants can adversely affect the entire ecosystem, from soil to top predators.
But why make work about them? Artistically, I respond to the paradox of beauty and threat. Being attracted to something ultimately harmful is an interesting and relatable experience. On the other hand, hardy natives give us hope. Trees like the hickory or chestnut oak, and the multitude of fungi (and flora like the Ghost Pipe) offer help to the ecosystem through how they live and die, sharing their own astonishing resilience.
I am inspired by the form and color of these plants, and hope to engage viewers with the dissonance or harmony they embody.