Patrick Collier: Field Burns
I have always felt a strong affinity to the land, yet I never purposefully made art about nature until I did a five-year stint as an organic farmer. Over the course of that time, I gained a new appreciation for the meanings of the word “landscape,” and with it, what it means to “do landscapes.” My ongoing series of photographs titled “Field Burns” is as much about farming practices as it references modern art.
I have been photographing the annual grass seed field burnings in the Willamette Valley for eight years. Due to a change in state laws, many of the fields I’ve photographed over the years, and time and again, are no longer sown in grass. Others are no longer burned and instead are baled as hay. Despite the impressiveness of these field fires, I am watching a fading farming practice. Yet, I didn’t start out photographing the fields strictly as a documentation of this decline for I am just as much drawn to and struck by the rich textures and contrasting tones created in the blaze’s aftermath.
I often wonder if the farmers working those burns see some aspects of the beauty I see. I hope they do.
Patrick Collier — Artist’s Bio
Patrick Collier came to making art by an indirect route, via an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and an MA in English Literature. He received his MFA in 1992 from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Accordingly, his approach to art making is multidisciplinary and incorporates a variety of media.
Collier has lived in rural Oregon since 2003. Recent exhibitions have been at The Suburban in Illinois and Nine Gallery in Portland. He continues to write art criticism, now for Oregon ArtsWatch (www.orartwatch.org).