Heavily influenced by aerial images of large-scale surface mining that is being operated in Canada’s Athabasca oil sands, these works show uncanny parallels to the earth’s surface created by the similarity of materials used. Though these mining areas are inadvertent monuments to their destructive anthropogenic character, the treatment of the surrounding environment and its outcome abides to the laws of nature on a grand scale. It is due to these irrevocable natural laws, that the handling of materials on the surface of the canvas can emulate what is visible all around the Earth.
With global temperatures and sea levels rising, open surface mining of oil sands is a testament to the devastating consequences of our dependency on fossil fuel. The imminently visible destruction of large areas of landscape to harvest crude oil contributes, through a long cycle of intermediate steps, to the warming of the planet. Now, with climate change denial on the rise, it is even more urgent to highlight these mining actions and the impact of fossil fuel on the planet’s and thus, our future.
The intricacy of the subject matter is mirrored in the work’s technique. Types of metal and other raw materials are treated with various acids at different levels of strength, as well as other chemicals, to undergo an accelerated process of oxidisation.
The inherent beauty of the works at first glance quickly turns deceiving and plays with similarities to the multistable perceptual phenomena. When one first encounters the images, the visual story they tell will immediately be altered after their true intend becomes clear.
Each canvas can be seen as a monument of current, and potential future, human made destruction of pristine landscapes in the name of supplying crude oil for the global demand in our “petrocapitalist” system.
BUFFALO HEAD HILLS