The Snow City project is the intersection of my large format digital print experience and a variety of life experiences. As a graduate student at Indiana University I worked as a paint crew member on very large opera sets. It was a hands-on look into theater set design and the constructing and lighting of a world that would be viewed from a specific perspective.
As an avid Nordic skier in the northeastern United States one experiences all kinds of ski conditions. The amount of liquid water in the snow affects its consistency and determines whether it is dense and heavy or loosely textured and light. Through the years I have gotten to know at least one groomer and the staff at different ski destinations. There is an art to building a snow base and maintaining it through all sorts of weather conditions. Critical to maintaining ice and snow is an understanding of how to use refrigeration. These experiences have helped me anticipate what will likely happen to snow consistency with changing temperatures and precipitation. It did not prepare me for how snow would behave in plastic molds. That is something that has been learned through trial and error.
As a professor in the School of Art and Design at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, I have developed an acute sensitivity to material. I also have been exposed to the expanded possibilities of molds. When a hinged plastic packaging container came into the house containing a compact florescent bulb, I saw it as a mold. It also occurred to me that I might use it as mold not for plaster or clay but snow. Combined with this was a desire to start to completely construct the source material for my photographs and light them. The pieces of new art project began to fall into place.
I am reluctant photographer. I have been tiling up large prints from many photos to construct high-resolution prints. This process has given me an opportunity to construct a specific kind of space and with almost imperceptible angle variations and color changes. I can choose what will be in focus and out. Photography allows the possibility to document the constantly changing light and material states, which are present to some degree in all the final prints. Finally I wanted to tie all these pieces back to an unsustainable future for civilization in regards to climate change. My husband has a physics background and is the director of the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, NY. This has given me an opportunity to hear and meet many distinguished scientists and astronauts. It is clear we cannot continue on the path we are on.