With August Majesty and Power

Sixteen flakes of mica, distributed between sixteen stations of a trade route in southeastern United States. What is this material without its essence? Information without an interpretation?

What is movement without reason?

This body of work traces William Bartram’s journey as he traveled through Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, chronicling his interactions with native peoples, plants, and wildlife from 1773-1777. The journey has been reimagined, combining images of mica with celestial maps to illuminate the spirit and joy of exploration. Each map is a historical record of the night sky as Bartram would have seen it resting upon a specific bald or knob along his travels. Bartram would look up into the heavens, he would look down toward his next step. Each flake of mica is a recording of those steps forward.

With August Majesty and Power is an examination of the sublime connection between exteriority and interiority. To walk along a path, to notice and document one’s surroundings, to collect sensuous information: these are expressions of the exterior. To pause and reflect, to extract an association such as a constellation or to feel the awe that overwhelms and disorients: these cascade from the interior. Together they form an indelible bond, uniquely exposing not how we go from point A to point B, but why.

Three images from the project, as well as a handbound, single-edition book containing all sixteen of the images and star maps, were featured in the Listening to the Land: With Rapture and Astonishment exhibition in 2022.