Deep Earth is a collaboration with artist Christel Dillbohner that explores making artwork through a "four-handed" process of simultaneous creation. The project focuses on our neglected relationship with ‘deep earth’: the many levels of physical geography and its transformations — pits and mines, infrastructure and land development, maps and other traces — that shape history and culture. For this project, we were inspired by the geography of California, especially Fresno and surrounding areas of the Central Valley.
Deep Earth continues the tradition of collaborative drawings — or Gemeinschaftsbilder — initially associated with the Neue Malerei (new painting) movement in Germany beginning in the early 1980s. It is an improvisatory and experimental approach to artmaking in which two minds and four hands are engaged together in real time on a single piece of paper or canvas. In the case of Deep Earth, the COVID pandemic forced a shift partway through the project to a more traditional time-shifted method of working that involved trading the work back and forth. Deep Earth ultimately took form as a set of collaborative drawings and paintings, prints, and artist’s books.
October–December 2021. Deep Earth was exhibited at Art Space Gallery at Fresno City College in the fall of 2021. In addition, we ran a four-handed drawing workshop with FCC art students in which over the course of a week they created the components for a large-scale work that took up one wall of the gallery.
A new project, Deep Earth / Deep Water, that will include both existing pieces and new works inspired by Orange County's aquifer is planned for Irvine City Hall in the fall of 2023.