Luminist Folios

This work is part of an ongoing series I've been calling Folios. The term, which means “leaves”, as what you would find on trees, has long been associated with books. In bookmaking, a folio is the folded spread of paper of an open bound volume. Also, there is an ancient Robert Spellman painting of a tin cup with waterconviction that poetic inspiration is aroused by the rustling leaves of trees. These two senses of folio are intertwined here.

The full title of this series is Lost Folios of the American Luminists. The American Luminists were landscape painters active in the United States during the middle and latter half of the nineteenth century. Their work has been seen either as expressions of reverence for the vastness and grandeur of the North American continent or as a cultural cover-up operation for the unchecked environmental ravages and tragic displacement of indigenous people that were going on at the same time.

Why “lost folios”? Most artists spend a lifetime gathering images, ideas, and studies, many of which never leave the studio. What happens to these when the artist dies? Most artists live their lives in anonymity, many of them quite happily. But there is the matter of what to do with all the leftover stuff. Much of what would have shaped and defined a life's work could easily end up in a dumpster. I would like to say that I found the following images in an attic trunk somewhere in Indiana but I didn't; I made them myself.