My Ode to Bierstadt
Images of Yosemite Valley are an iconic symbol of the United States of America representing patriotic ideals and a belief in a pristine standard of natural beauty. In this composition, parts of Albert Bierstadt’s Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California are visible on the left-side, but the focal point of Bierstadt’s composition is eclipsed by a collaged glitch image of Yosemite National Park that I encountered in Google Earth. In my painting, the American icon and ideals are unresolved due to a glitch; The historic icon of paradise is inaccessible, and the sublime is experienced by the horrific void in the foreground between the viewer and the lines of tourist’s vehicles on their American Dream pilgrimage to Half Dome. The horror of the void intensifies as it swallows an anamorph of the uncontrolled wildfires at Yosemite. This painting critiques a false sense of stability, the fallible ideals of preservation, and the unstainable belief that human powers have control over the forces of nature without the consequence of damaging the planet and destroying ourselves. Despite the heaviness of these narratives, I believe that my role as an artist is to stay with the trouble and communicate through my paintings the narratives witnessed during these times of Climate Change.