Memorials to the genii loci: Middle Rio Grande Basin

in collaboration with Billy Joe Miller

Clay, sand, straw, plants, branches, bones, river water, and burnt-finished cottonwood


Drawing from the history of landscape architecture, and the use of urns as ornamental elements in formal garden settings, Memorials to the genii loci: Middle Rio Grande Basin is the first in a series of site-specific work that memorializes natural environments lost or altered by human impact.

Before the tremendous human transformation of the Rio Grande that began in the 1800’s it was a meandering, shallow river consisting of several channels that formed a braided pattern. Natural flood pulses allowed the river to overflow its banks, enriching the flood plain soils with nutrients. Extensive irrigation, drainage and flood control infrastructure introduced in the early 20th century has resulted in the loss of over half of the floodplain wetlands of the middle Rio Grande valley. These changes along with increased urbanization, pollution and human impact have affected the animals and wildlife that live in and the near the river basin. Today, The Open Space Visitor Center manages approximately 18 acres of agricultural land for the benefit of wildlife. By offering a symbolic bridge that likewise attempts to connect human and non-human communities in a way that acknowledges and celebrates our entangled condition, Memorials to the genii loci: Middle Rio Grande Basin presents both a sobering and forward-looking consideration of the natural history and future of the Center and of the Rio Grande Bosque.

Exhibited at:

"ArtPark21 - 21ST CENTURY ECO ART INSTALLATIONS" – Open Space Visitor Center, Albuquerque, NM, 2019