Michelle Guthrie BFA Sculpture Thesis Spring 2018
Beginning with a life-long connection to place, specifically the western region of Mount Hood National Forest, I deep mapped the land, as a way to express my lived and living experience of the forests there. This body of work is a distillation of that mapping. I sought to translate the values of the forest, to the place I live, Portland, and the local community. The individual components of this thesis work include: Native Plant Rooftop Car Garden (represented by six photographs and a video played on a monitor), Native Plant Bicycle Garden, Ways of Knowing (Bryophyte Cartography) - a moss tapestry installation with greenhouse enclosure and audio and interactive components, and On The Way to McNeil Point (Two Maps), an audio installation accompanied by a trail map. All of these works are a conversation between biological and built environments. They are an expression of concern for green space in our rapidly developing cityscape. Born and raised in Portland, I have witnessed development that preferences maximum square foot profit at the sacrifice of greenways, urban forests, parks and private properties with mature trees and gardens. Our green to built balance is being altered as we embrace density but abandon breathability and un-commodified space. Through the Native Plant Gardens I posit the question of alternative green-space for urbanites. Ways of Knowing ( Bryophyte Cartography), is an examination of both the romanticization, and the “othering” of nature. These works are an inquiry into our human relationship to the biosphere and into the intersection of human made and non-human made environments.