8. Amanda Hawkins
I use paint to study the ecology of the New England forest. I engage in search practices both onsite and offsite through government and scientific reports. My findings inform a painterly space that questions the intertwined natural and human histories of my local landscape. The subject matter of my paintings -- fallen trees, invasive species, rock walls -- isolates moments of past ecological events and human interventions. The forest floor, in all its entanglements of underbrush and invasive species, tells a long story of human movement, colonization, and globalism. Rock walls, a quintessential part of the New England forest, mark former property lines and grazing pastures implying that all flora around the wall is new growth. Varying in girth and species, these younger trees speak to resource depletion, land use, ethics, and most importantly, conservation. Painting makes these histories visible, encouraging the viewer to confront and meditate on the history -- and future -- of the contemporary American landscape.