Portfolio > Iowa 2020 Derecho

Tierratrauma, solastalgia, and ecological grief are terms that help describe the feeling of the deep emotional pain one experiences from negative environmental change. With weather events and natural disasters occurring more frequently with increasing intensity, these earth based emotions and loss of sense of place will become a more common universal experience. How do we grieve for lives beyond the human ones of our own? I personally experienced these emotions and loss of sense of place as a result of the Iowa 2020 derecho, which destroyed 70% of the tree canopy in my hometown of Cedar Rapids. Through my strong personal connection to the lost trees of my childhood landscape, this body of work explores a new and changed relationship to place and destroyed landscape through the lenses of loss, grief, trauma, and memory.

Mourning, processing, and documenting the loss and damage of the trees were the first steps in starting to remake sense of the place I call home. Initially, I used photographs, ink drawings, and paintings to respond directly to the destruction itself, making use of representation to historically document the damage for what it was and to discern where I wanted the to work to go. As time passed and debris fields transformed into void-like spaces, I relied on my memories of place to begin to understand the new landscape that no longer made sense without the trees. Through the hazy, disorienting qualities of grief and the intangible, shifting qualities of environmental and emotional landscapes, I rediscovered the trees by looking into the space of their physical absence and painting their palpable, residual presence. The work serves as testimony, memorial, advocate, and healing for the lives of the lost trees and searches for a deeper empirical understanding of our innate human-nature relationship in the time of the Anthropocene.