In March of 2012, I was awarded an artist’s residency by the United States NationalPark Service in southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park. While staying in thePark, I spent much of my time visiting the borderlands of the park and the areas wherethe low Sonoran desert meets the high Mojave desert. While hiking and driving, I caughtglimpses of the border space created by the meeting of distinct ecosystems injuxtaposition, referred to as the Edge Effect in the ecological sciences. To documentthis unique confluence of terrains, I hiked out a large mirror and painter’s easel into thewilderness and captured opposing elements within the environment. Using a singlevisual plane, this series of images unifies the play of temporal phenomena, contrasts ofcolor and texture, and natural interactions of the environment itself.
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Daniel Kukla — Artist Statement
My artistic practice is informed by the joint intersection of my work as a photographer,and my formal training in the biological and anthropological sciences. I work at thejuncture of these disciplines, focusing in on capturing evidence as images that have thepower to articulate our ever-changing relationship with the natural world. In both scienceand photography the act of collection is universal. Whether specimen or subject, thecollection process allows one to categorize, control, and critically describe one’sfindings, and contribute them to the collective work of others in the field. I find that thisprocess allows me to engage my audience with contemporary social andenvironmental themes, ranging from the commonplace to the esoteric. As a calculatedinvestigation, my projects document and bear witness to important social, political andecological issues; through highlighting the beautiful and the bizarre, and retaining theprecision and experimentation of the scientific perspective, I offer a vantage point onthese subjects that can destabilize, challenge and provoke.