My first Camargo project is a series of 9 cartographic works on paper, which explore the myths surrounding American history. They began in New York as small, intricate, sepia etchings of a fortification in France, Mont-Dauphin, over which I layered collage, colored pencil and watercolor images (from US popular culture - boys' war toys, folk songs, tourist brochures). They began to tell a quirky, personal version of our national story, beginning with "The Age of Discovery" and ending with "Going Global." Before coming to France, I made digital enlargements of these miniature pieces, and while here I overlaid more collage, colored pencil and watercolor onto the new, expanded mapscapes. Now complete, they reflect my feelings of disappointment and despair over the direction my country is taking in the twenty-first century.
I completed that series just before the two-week break. While away in Italy, another idea began to emerge, which I'm exploring during the second half of my residency. I bought 10 plain cast paper masks in Venice (traditionally elaborated and gilded for "Carnevale" and considered tourist kitsch by the locals). I've been painting maps of islands in the Mediterranean right across the faces, a floating and dreamy effect. The presence of the sea all around us in Cassis, changing with every hour and every season, has entered my unconscious, but I didn't realize it until I left for awhile. My fellow Fellow, poet Kevin Craft writes about his travels to places throughout this region, and we are talking about collaborating on a modest publication, combining his poems with photographs of my masks. I expect the masks to become an element in a larger installation, which I may call "Voyages." Next month, I will be working on wood block prints on rice paper based on early explorations in the Pacific with a master printer in Hawaii, a project which has been under discussion for a year. Now, I'm imagining that if I can juxtapose painted masks of Mediterranean islands with printed navigational charts of Pacific islands, they might merge into a more complex and evocative wall piece than either by itself. Meanings evolve for me gradually, through the process of art making.