This painting started out as a contemplation about Los Angeles and the different worlds that exist within its boundaries. Few other cities in the United States host such a diverse population of wildlife living in such close proximity with urban neighborhoods. You can be in Koreatown, Van Nuys or Culver City, surrounded by apartment buildings and strip malls, and see red tailed hawks, owls, parrots, herons, or raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and even sometimes bears or mountain lions, depending on where you are.
There is a term used in the firefighting community: wildland–urban interface (WUI) zone. This refers to areas of the city where development meets wild lands. In this painting, the buildings on the right mirror the mountains on the left, while the branch of the tree vaguely mimics the power poles below. The abstract and fanciful plant form in the middle represents all plants. We exist in the same spaces with wild lands. Though we may be unaware of the nature that is fitting itself in and around the structure of our daily urban lives, nature is not unaware of us.
Roots, veins and branches are a shorthand I sometimes use to mean “everything is connected.” As we live in this city, our lives affect all of the other lives around us. Our buildings and developments alter the flow of nature, and in turn climate change, fires, mudslides, wildlife like coyotes, deer and bears appearing in our yards, too many rodents, and other out-of-balance environmental events alter the flow of our own lives.
As I thought about the different worlds touching each other at any given moment wherever we stand, I thought about the sky, the satellites, the space station, the bubble of atmosphere and orbital space around our planet that is also part of our interconnected habitats. The sky seems big, like the ocean. We take for granted how much garbage we can put into these big “empty” spaces. But the sky, the atmosphere, is only a thin membrane of gasses keeping us safe from the sun’s radiation.
The painting was originally called “Parallel Worlds” which might even be written on the back. But these worlds aren’t exactly parallel, they are “interfacing.” I recently renamed it, “Coincidere.” Latin for coincidence, meaning “the correspondence in nature or in time of occurrence.” We are all coinciding at once, in this small place we call Earth.
18″ x 36″
oil on canvas
Would you like to support more posts like this?