Parallel Migrations XXV… References

Parallel Migrations is an ongoing series of installations which was motivated by an article in the NY Times in 1996 which described the mass kill off of millions Monarch butterflies. Holes in the canopy due to illegal logging allowed a freak snow storm into the forest. As a result, millions of overwintering butterflies died in the Oyamel Forest of Central Mexico. The latter was a supposedly protected butterfly reserve. Political corruption, climate change and global disregard of environmental laws created this unnatural disaster.

Soon after I found myself silk screening images of Monarch butterflies which I began placing outdoors during snow storms. The first of these installations took place while I was in residency at the Weir Farm Trust in Connecticut. The disjoint between the fabricated butterflies and the natural environment became a commentary on species decline.

Reflecting on the perilous annual migrations of these butterflies it occurred to me that my Monarch images could be an apt metaphor for the equally perilous journeys of migrant laborers.

A year later, after setting an alarm to wake me up in the early morning, I was able to install butterflies outdoors when there was already a layer of snow on the ground. A few hours later after a light dusting of snow had descended on my installation, I was able to capture these images. My neighbors never commented on finding me on a ladder with a camera during an early morning snow storm.

Little did I know that these first installations over 15 years ago would evolve into an ongoing of increasingly larger and more complex series of outdoor works.

You are invited to view the latest version of Parallel Migrations at Lake Larson in Virginia Beach, Virginia from August 24th 2019 through November 2021.

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