The Transitional Spaces series takes its inspiration from the landscape in the Great Plains region of the United States, where pivot irrigation is widely used to support industrial agriculture. Through a mix of industrial and hand-made processes, this body of work raises questions around sustainability and the industrial nature of our food production, while also functioning as a tribute to the unseen manual labor in our food supply. Referencing satellite imagery, circles from irrigation, squares delineated by roadways, and the repeated linear elements of plowed fields are drawn upon for inherent colors, forms, patterns, and textures. These repeated geometric forms cover thousands of square miles. When flying over this region, the marks of human intervention are on stark view and can be seen and experienced in ways not noticeable from the ground. The sheer scale is awe inspiring and unsettling. Waterjet cut aluminum serves as a reference to this industrial nature of our food supply, while the use of packing blankets, stitched directly to the painted canvases, function as a metaphor and reference to ecological and economic transitions; as packing blankets are commonly used to cushion the transport of valuable belongings from one location to another. Through the process of pivot irrigation, the demands of industrial agriculture are draining the Ogallala Aquifer more quickly than it can be naturally replenished. Once this aquifer is exhausted, the landscape will transition from its cultivated form, back into its natural state. The local economies, along with all of us who rely on this extensive food supply, will be required to transition as well. The titles in each work on canvas are taken from the GPS coordinates from the satellite source images.
All images copyright of Steve Rossi.