A few years ago, satirist Joe Queenan took a romp across America in search of high-culture. He documented his journey in the book: Red Lobster, White Trash and the Blue Lagoon. He was looking for the perfect cannoli, instead he found a society in love with the musical Cats; seafood ejected from molds at the local Red Lobster and entire galleries dedicated to the "Painter of Light".
My map paintings expose the natural tendency of modern-Americans to seek out suburban lives in even the most remote reaches of the American West. The maps do not show a civilization at the height of urban sprawl, but rather offer a glimpse of a post-suburbia environment with reclaimed land in this modern era of technology and industry. Evidence of past civilizations is only slightly hidden under the surface. Trails and pathways are still evident and utilized by prospective builders. How soon will the suburbs return? How long will it take for corporate America to reintroduce Red Lobster, endless stretches of identical pre-fab houses and Wal-Mart? Or will the quickly disappearing middle class find this newly formed vast acreage of land suddenly beyond economic reach?
By the way, I found the perfect cannoli at a small bakery in Kalispell, Montana. The owner and pastry-chef is a former resident of Philadelphia that made his way to northern Montana over twenty years ago and never left. He fills the tubular treats with a cream whipped from huckleberries he picks at the edge of Glacier National Park. - DN