Beneath the Dirt of Great Men


University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, 2021

Archival inkjet pigment prints

31 x 25 inches (framed)

67 x 44 inches



Once known as the “petroleum graveyard,” Beneath the Dirt of Great Men exposes the carbon landscape in the Permian Basin of Southeast New Mexico and West Texas. With climate change, land use, and energy policy at the forefront of our national consciousness, the photographs and sculpture works contemplate the extraction of crude oil and natural gas in the largest reserve of these natural resources in the United States.


The work reveals what cannot be seen going on below the surface – the soul of the earth – with images of disgusting, yet abstractly beautiful mixtures of salt/brine water, toxic chemicals (such as arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, lead and mercury among others) and oil/gas residue that are used in hydraulic fracking and drilling operations to discover oil and gas deposits hidden in shale formations, which is then pumped back up to the surface, discarded and dumped into waste water evaporation ponds.


The transformation of this Southwest desert landscape is further complicated with the grave markers of the skeletal remains of decommissioned oil pump jacks. In juxtaposition, the photographs reflect on our willingness and desire to abuse and disregard the natural landscape for resources in what is becoming an unsustainable way of life for us, the climate and the earth.


Beneath the Dirt of Great Men was developed for the EXTRACTION: Art on the Edge of the Abyss project.






Oil Pump Jacks

















Fracking Ponds



















Artist Book



14 – 3/8 x 11 – 3/8 x 7/8 inches

12 archival inkjet pigment prints on Canson Prestige II

6 text sheets on Canson Rag Photographique

Payhembury marbled paper covered binders board with archival folder















Portfolio Print Book






24 – 11 x 8-1/2 inch archival inkjet pigment prints

12 x 9 x 1/2 inches

Bookcloth covered archival boards with 2 tipped-in images on covers, tri-fold binding and four-flap archival folder

Edition: 10 (3 Copies Available)



Scripps College, Denison Library Special Collections

Stanford University, Bowes Art & Architecture Library

University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library Pictorial Collections

University of California, Santa Cruz, McHenry Library, Special Collections

University of Southern California, Special Collections






















Created from salvaged oil pump jack parts and components

11-5/8 inch (width) x 23-3/4 inch (length) concrete base

25 inch (width) x 35 inch (length) dirt base




Pump Jack Nº1

40 x 22-1/2 x 5-3/8 inches




Pump Jack Nº2

43-1/4 x 19-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches




Pump Jack Nº3

40-1/8 x 25-3/4 x 7-1/4 inches




Pump Jack Nº4

38-3/4 x 25-3/4 x 8 inches




Pump Jack Nº5

37-7/8 x 22-1/4 x 8-1/2 inches




Pump Jack Nº6

40 x 16-1/2 x 5-3/4 inches