Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989)
Sometime around 2006 or 2007 a close friend lent me a battered, worn out paperback, paying forward the very item which had once been lent to her. Unbeknownst to both of us (or perhaps just me?), this compact tome of ochre edges and soft corners would begin a journey of deep appreciation for the American Southwest and all things wild, which would culminate not only in the avowal of a profound new influence on my art and thinking, but in my physical migration west to Austin, Texas.
A rambling yet quick-witted recounting of the author’s time in the wild lands of Utah, whose salty tone resembles the very landscape it describes, Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey introduced me to a strain of pure environmentalism and a curiosity of what lies “out there” in the part of this conquered and domesticated continent “where no one goes.” Since then I’ve rather unintentionally incorporated Abbey’s ethic and attitude into my life and of course, into my artwork, only in the last 2 years realizing the true significance of having been exposed to him. Though they rarely show up in direct or literal fashion through subject matter, the cleansing spirit of the vast, open southwest and Abbey’s maverick attitude both inform the concepts which drive my artistic purpose, and the themes I explore.