Ground Covers: Winter/Spring, The MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire, March 2011

Ground Covers manifests a living earth in petrified form. In early March, the rural New Hampshire ground is in constant flux, imprinted with a continuous exchange between material, weather and event. Ten 2'x2' areas of ground are selected and impressions of their surfaces are taken with plaster. Each cast isolates a particular condition at a particular moment in the transformation from winter to spring. At the road’s edge, melting snow carves earth and ice forming a channel. In a muddy area, a tire tread impressed in the earth evokes human habitation and movement. A boulder crowns above the snow. Stripped of their formwork, the crisp orthogonal plaster casts blend in color but contrast in form with the snowy rural landscape. Ironically, by covering and fixing the ground in time, these opaque structures draw attention to this ever-transforming organic surface.

Credits: Mike Fisher, Fabrication Assistant. Support: The MacDowell Colony, The University of Maryland.