Doug DeWitt

My artwork is inspired by immersions in landscape and by the colors and textures of weathered materials. As a child I spent hours exploring my grandparents’ farm buildings and playing in the creek near my home. I’ve been an environmentalist since before I was old enough to know what the word meant. The conceptual foundation for my work—whether sculpture, land art or other media—is in how people manipulate land and the natural environment.

My sculpture is made with weathered and decayed natural and manufactured objects. These materials have inherent content and beauty, evoking memories of specific places and time in the landscape and presenting nature without denying the intrusions of humanity. In dialog with the materials I find relationships between nature and modern civilization where visual and physical harmony exist primarily through decay.

An ongoing element in my sculptural work is the wrapping of string, wire and rope around objects. Many of my drawings are two-dimensional variations of those patterns and activities. Archetypal graphic motifs of spirals, concentric circles, scribbles and other mark-making reflect patterns and forms in nature. Considering the continuity of energy through time, perhaps these drawings are symbolic of physical or spiritual road maps, navigating toward the truth of our position in the universe.

I’m also fascinated by the movement of leaves blowing in the breeze, curls of fire in prairie grass, and changes that occur over time. My video and photographic work reveal subtleties in landscapes that are commonly overlooked while my ecological land art is site-specific work that develops over many years. As degraded landscapes are restored to health, materials on a site are manipulated and documented as they change over time. Objects that are removed from the site become artifacts of the place while the landscape continues to evolve. The collaboration with natural forces results in ever-changing artwork that lives on by itself with my manipulation as an element in its composition.

With my artwork I relate my experience in the landscape and through an ecological lens I continue to explore and play in the landscapes around me.