Like Seed to Soil is considered part of a larger body of garden and soil-related works that date back
to 1999. As part of that body, it continues the botanical concern, and shares in
a regard for the character of found materials, and in the practice of time-intensive
Most recently, the idea of “garden” has expanded to include the asphalt plane.
As with the work here, the gathering field became exclusive to paved surfaces. At
a certain point asphalt seemed like soil, fertile and absorptive, its aggregated mass
appearing as an endless seedbed. Upon its surface are found the materials of discard, like seeds that it takes unto
This interest in seeds and roots directed me to seek imagery from a range of
botanical sources. The photographs, and especially the drawings I encountered, were
profoundly interesting unto themselves. One such source was Henry D. Thoreau’s last
manuscript, The Dispersion of Seeds. Like Seed to Soil was greatly informed by Thoreau’s
I discovered the beauty of line in his handwriting. I was inspired by the freshness
and visual power of his seed and root sketches. Even more, my work owes to his discussions
of “fly-away” seeds, which described their falling and spreading action. As with
the pitch pine seeds “falling in a dense shower…like grain scattered by the hand of
a sower.” Or the seeds which “fill the air,” and the willow down that “floats in
a meandering manner,” sometimes sailing upward “as high as rooftops.” These phrases
and others, as well as his statements about tree growth patterns, strongly suggested
a means for spatial treatment.
Ultimately, however, Like Seed to Soil evolved through a layering of influences,
ideas, and experiences. Along with Thoreau’s work, I was impacted most by the power
of the materials I gathered. I felt an odd but deep connection to the asphalt spaces
I entered. And finally, in an important way parts of this work seem to have derived
from my own gardening experiences.