Transition Part II: High Altitude Grandeur
On our way to Huaraz, a town in Peru on the edge of the second largest mountain range in the world, I felt a sense of deep calm and tranquility. As the landscape turned from the rolling sand dunes of the coast into terraced green hillsides and finally into high plains backed by towering white peaks, I was thankful to be a witness to this grandeur and felt a huge amount of respect for the people who have inhabited this harsh land for so long.
On our first outing into the Cordillera Blanca (one of the higher parts of the Andes range), I was struck by the aesthetic perfection of this remote wilderness. After four years in art school going over the great names and works of manmade art, I have instead found my greatest role model in the untouched natural world. In this mesmerizing area, the patterns and compositions of plant material, rock, and water drew me in and held me captivated. If I can provide even a fraction of that feeling to my own audience someday I will be quite satisfied.
One of the highlights of this first day trip up to Pastoruri glacier, was the Puya (raimondii) plant. This member of the Bromeliaceae family towers over the grasslands and dots the hillsides with an almost alien presence. They take about 100 years to come into maturity and only thrive at around 10,000ft to 15,000ft in elevation. Their spiky bases support huge flowering towers, and as they slowly die over the years, the tower turns jet black while the spiky leaves sink toward the ground. I was especially fascinated by the pattern of inverted spike imprints (pictured in the above photo) lining the dead leaves and wondered at the intricacy and thoughtfulness of natural design. I hope to follow the guidance of natural tendency in my work and bring plant life into an new territory of consideration.