A Walk Through Suburbia – Artist’s Statement –
“…mi ritrovai per una selva oscura…” – Dante Alighieri – The Inferno
“…I found myself through a dark wood,…”
This part of the opening line of Dante’s Inferno, written in the early 14th Century, presents the basic human condition of confusion, doubt and the search for meaning. As I begin one of my walks through an American suburb, Dante’s words often come to me as the most appropriate preparation for what I am about to encounter.
These images are part of a larger body of work in which I look at the often odd structures, landscapes, environmental arrangements, signs, symbols and decorations one finds when walking through American suburbia. I grew up in the suburbs, and, partly, have lived in the suburbs, but I have little affinity for such locations. I have always felt that the artificial arrangement of homes on plots of land, each simultaneously cordoning off public and secret lives, has created a strange universe not unlike Dante’s Dark Wood. Even a view of the sky above is framed with the strict borders of suburban living.
Odd symbols, unbalanced juxtapositions, and strong implications of secrecy and mystery – all assault my photographic eye like the stab of beach sand blowing in a high wind. These images attempt to ask questions without giving conclusions—an aesthetics that models my own attempt to understand the essential meaning of why we live the way we do.