Mutiny in the Garden

2017-2018
Mutiny in the Garden examines the political conditions embodied in America's founding agrarian philosophy. The works revise themes in Thomas Cole’s Course of Empire, a series of allegorical paintings in which that explores the rise and fall of empire through a style of landscape suffused with historical associations, and moralistic narratives.

In Des Espace Autres, Michel Foucault describes the concept of heterotopias as a non-hegemonic space of otherness, which simultaneously mirrors, distorts and inverts other spaces within a culture. According to his third principal of heterotopia, it is capable of juxtaposing in a single space, several real spaces and sites that are in themselves incompatible and foreign to one another. Foucault gives as example the ancient garden in the Orient as a universalizing heterotopia representing a microcosm of diverse environments. Rejecting the romanticized aesthetic of early American landscape paintings, the paintings interpret the narrative spaces as frenetic amalgamations of historical references and contemporary experiences, interpreted through a hybridity of American and Asian painting techniques, materials and philosophies.