Zack Thurmond - Artist Statement
I’ve always been a bit of a tree hugger, and a sucker for the emotional power of a place. Throughout my life, certain trees and certain places have become like bookmarks for me. I’ve spent many hours under them, around them, in them. Visit after visit, I’ve watched them slowly grow, transform, and die. I see them very much as storytellers…not just of their own lives, but of my own. Just as I’ve watched them grow and evolve, I like to think they’ve watched me, as well.
I find myself fighting the urge to look up, toward the dramatic skylines of foothills and mountains. I find great value in looking down, at the more passive role that the landscape plays in my life. I want to pay homage to the way that certain trees, fields, hollows, or rocks serve as the matrix for my experience of this world. I don’t see these places as inanimate backgrounds, or even quiet observers. I see them as fellow travelers in this journey we are all a part of.
I enjoy eliminating the horizon line in some of my works, to force myself to have a dialogue with the little things that are overlooked and underfoot. It is a way to foreground the immediacy of my surroundings that are so often ignored in favor of postcard vistas and dramatic skies. I want to really KNOW these places, and like any relationship, that requires time, introspection, and a willingness to embrace the everyday minutiae.
This hyper local approach has led me in new conceptual directions. Just as artists continue to explore the human figure after thousands of years, I realize that I have inexhaustible subject matter in a single watershed or sagebrush patch. There is so much to explore in this universe, but I’ll start with a few square yards at a time.