Signal Fire: Unwalking Zebulon Pike application materials -Veronica Reeves

Veronica Reeves

I’m looking forward to exploring locations in the energetic landscape of Colorado to discover intersections between my identity and my environment as well as the communal identity with those on the trip. I will be recording through writing, sketching, photography, and video as a resource for future paintings, poetry, and a short story. I’m especially interested in the feeling of smallness that I gather from time spent in places like the Rockies and high plains of Colorado with its gorge vistas, Pike’s Peak, granite faces of the mountains, formations like those at Red Rocks, the Flat Irons, the continental divide, and Garden of the Gods.  To me, these are all reminders of time before humans and of earth processes that have and will eclipse life on Earth’s surface. My goals for this trip also include developing confidence in carrying out trips for personal projects and nurturing my interest in leading groups in the future.

I have lived in the Pacific Northwest, in Hawaii, the midwest, Colorado, and spent a good deal of time travelling abroad in Europe. Last year I graduated with my M.F.A. in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art. Through painting and writing, I look for descriptions and visuals that collapse the conceived separation between self and environment and expand the perception of being an Earth bound body. Accompanying this interest includes the challenge of sharing the Earth’s vulnerability through the lens of personal narrative. Paint and process become my metaphors for emotional, bodily, and Earthly processes in which I layer indications of landscapes, structures, and figures. I am very curious about why we describe ourselves as living “on” the planet Earth, not as a part of it. The imagery in my paintings draws from places that I have been to and felt a greater sense of awareness in being a part of a planetary eco-system. I also draw on my experience finding meaning while raising children on a planet with a damaged eco-system. In my recent foray into poetry, I examine the emotional responses I have inside different environments, looking for blurred boundaries between my identity and my surroundings. I present these poems as visuals along with a sketch or painting that pairs up with a watercolor sketch from the surroundings I wrote the poem in.