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.
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 + 1 AP