Wild Stirrings #4, mixed media over nature prints on assembled Lama Li color papers, 48"h x 72"w (center detail).
The Loyola Beach Dunes lakefront restoration project captured my interest since its earliest inception over a decade ago. Located in the Rogers Park neighborhood on Chicago's far north side, this six acre lakefront dune habitat has transformed one of the city's public beaches into a native plant oasis that minimizes erosion, stabilizes the shoreline, and engages its visitors with its midwestern plant forms, seasonal color displays, and delightful birds, insects, and animals.
Wild Stirrings #3, mixed media over nature prints on Lama Li color paper collage, 48"h x 94"w, 2022-23.
Over the years, the initial Marram grass seedlings planted at least a foot apart along the public biking/walking path have grown from spindly delicate grass plugs into extensive swaths of tall fountains of thickly interwoven reeds taller than most adults. And their height grows ever higher as the blowing beach sand gets trapped by their dense root structure and pushes the grasses upward.
Wild Stirrings #2, mixed-media over nature prints on assembled Lama Li color papers, 44"h x 74"w, 2022.
To witness this environmentally impactful project on an almost daily basis is both fascinating and profound. To see the transformation of the lakefront into a richly naturalized space that in some aspects may resemble how it looked before urbanization--and to watch dunes form before one's eyes--is a wonder-filled, strikingly beautiful, ecologically hopeful, and ever-inspiring experience. The works represented here were created in response to this environment and the seasonal and topographical changes taking place there.