How do we amuse ourselves in America’s most beautiful places? The relationship that many Americans have with the natural world is one of awkwardness and detachment manifested in the way we vacation in National Parks and other naturally beautiful places. Culturally instilled perceptions of place and a frantic pace to see it all keep many circulating around the edges of the natural world rather than experiencing it in more intimate ways. Many have a distanced appreciation for a beautiful, natural landscape, especially those iconic views of the American West that are recognizable from ubiquitous travel brochures, postcards, posters, books, and calendars. Kitschy tourist stops, amusement parks, golf courses, shopping centers, restaurants, or funky little coffee shops and pubs bring urban pleasures and comforts to our experience of the natural world.
My intention is to visually investigate our behavior by exploring the roads we build, the parks we set aside, the objects we place within the natural landscape, and the activities in which we participate. As a society, we simultaneously want a world filled with beautiful landscapes and a comfortable lifestyle. However, our current way of life demands a high rate of natural resource consumption that destroys precious ecosystems, which by association destroys the beautiful view. We want the best of both worlds; we want our view and to eat it too. My work satirically explores this paradox and the tension that exists when a society tries to reconcile competing desires.