A lot of my work has an aspect of curiosity in various man-made or reorganized pieces of nature. Hills, piles, mountains, rows of trees or bushes or plants... we like to see our own hands at work, controling our immediate and sometimes extended environment. The Seattle Art Museum uses a quote from The Home Book of the Picturesque, 1851 to describe a Frederic Edwin Church landscape entitled A Country Home, saying "The hand of man generally improves a landscape. The earth has been given to him, and his presence in Eden is natural. He gives life and spirit to the garden." The irony now of this antiquated notion of an idyllic, agrarian America wears a bit thin these days in the face of the suburban/industrial opulence much of the world now enjoys. When Emirati engineers dredge palm leaf archipelagoes or Chinese environmental ministers sidestep regulation, all merely following America's lead, it is apparent that the size of the hands tilling the garden have grown. The commonness and banality of modern urban growth and sprawl, with its relatively new methods of organization, meets sharply with Church's vision. On the other hand, the perception of easy, comfortable subruban life is as lively and appealing now as Church's was in the 19th century.
The dreams of Wright or Disney for utopian villages and development were realized falsely in the meandering and sprawling suburbia presently growing around cities globally. While observing suburbia, critically or positively, physically or socially, is nothing new it seems to me to be at least viable as a continued topic of discourse. Those who live in them perhaps don't recognize the patterns outside of them and those outside perhaps don't even know of or acknowledge the existence of many suburban communities. The hand of the suburban developer has redefined America's Eden and the geographical and social organization of such development is certainly still a curious thing.