10/22/21 3:54 pm EST
Just got off the phone with Mario, and am literally buzzing with energy. There are so many awesome people out in the world, it’s so nice to be able to connect with one of them.
Fungi, lichen, belonging, water -- autonomy. Not virtue signalling.
I’ve always felt like my artwork doesn’t belong with the other artwork I have made. I go from a painting to a sculpture to experiment with printmaking and then combine some of it. After this phone call, I can see all of the varying subjects, mediums and dimensions I have worked with, being like steps to a ladder or the different nutrients I needed to sprout as a plant. I needed all of the work I did in the past in order to get me to where I am now.
History is like that too. The more I learn from history, the more I am able to exist with more awareness, exist with understanding I know nothing even more so (lol). Knowledge gives me autonomy, a little slice of freedom.
Anyways, lichen. Lichen are so amazing to me, it makes me want to cry! That makes no sense, but I get the teary feeling and the pressure in my throat if I think of all of the reasons why I love lichen, or look up to it? I don’t know what kind of care or affection it is - but it is personal. Lichen, fungi, light coming through leaves, the movement that wind creates - things dance. Light can make things come alive, clouds moving over large landscapes creating little spotlights of sun. That’s magic. That’s the abundance and life that I am drawn to create, emulate, align myself with - whatever it is, I’m into it.
I think that autonomy is powerful. Learning about lichen and how they exist is exhilarating.
They can only grow in specific places -- very specific. Lichenologist Jessi Allen used to work at NY Botanic Gardens, and tried an experiment taking lichens from only an hour or two away from the city, and tried transplanting them at the gardens. They lived for a few weeks or months - but eventually died. The same even goes for elevation; lichen that lives at sea level can’t exist at 4,000 feet, even on the same mountain.
The thing that really interests me about lichen, is that it’s the body of a fungus and that partnered with a photosynthesizer such as an algae or cyanobacteria or some combination of all three even. Fungus has mycelium that connects it all under the ground, trees and plants all root under the surface, all communicate with one another, all interwoven together. Lichen… not so much! They are made up of the same components, but instead of rooting in the ground, they absorb the nutrients around them. That’s mind blowing to me. In other words, they are bioindicators, so if the air around them is toxic, they cannot exist. What a metaphor. And how incredible that lichen can tell humans about how we are interacting with the environment. They are a literal canary in the coal mine, and doing it all the time autonomously - automatically. Or not, maybe on purpose? Who knows!