Into the Woods Photographic Prints and Installation by Mary Yates
I have always had a secret desire to become lost in the deep woods at night. To hear the rustling of animals, smell the fertile earth, and to feel my heart quicken as perhaps I catch a brief glimpse of the hidden world that exists beyond my safety and touches the place where magic is born. The thought makes me feel giddy, alive and even a bit apprehensive. With all my senses engaged and not knowing the outcome, I could venture forth and really feel what it is like to be human and truly alive with limited defenses and no connection to the safety of a warm home with locked doors.
The ways we have distanced ourselves from nature is truly heartbreaking. We all now live in our shoebox cages and most of us visit nature only when we need “sport” or “recreation”. As urban sprawl encroaches on more and more wild lands these magical spaces are disappearing at an alarming rate. We are so fearful of the woods and the wild beasts that roam that we have insulated ourselves in subdivisions and strip malls. We call the wildlife management service when a “nuisance” animal encroaches on our tidy little plastic world and spray chemicals on our lawns to create uniformity that feels safe because we have lost our way and become fearful. I believe that this disconnection to our wild lands is one of the most devastating signs of how unhealthy our planet has become.
Through this work, I hope that people will realize that the woods are a treasure, a place of magic and beauty, and essential to our success as a species. I hope that visitors to this exhibit will experience, in a small way, how it might feel to be immersed in a living world where we can revive our connection to our to our planet and our responsibility to her.
The images were gathered in Kentucky at Wolf Pen Branch Mill Farm (part of the River Fields conservation easement) and at Bernheim Forest.
Please visit River Fields at www.riverfields.org or the Nature Conservancy at www.nature.org for more information about how you can help protect our land and natural resources.
Opening Reception Wednesday, June 10th 6-10pm at the Huff Gallery at Spalding University