In 2007 I was commissioned by the Phoenix Public Arts Commission to create a body of work that engaged issues of waste and recycling in the city of Phoenix. For the project I strove to create work meditating on the effects that rapid growth and its subsequent debris has had on our environment. I specifically focused on the ecotome where the natural landscape and the city collide, creating surprising intersection of life and decay. I am a product of the Sonoran Desert. I have grown up hiking the desert valleys, climbing canyon walls and traversing the voids capped with immense blue sky. I deeply respect this desert land that has created a framework for my understanding of the world and myself. This reverence for the land has made me deeply aware that my relationship with this space is reciprocal and we are directly connected to the land we live in.
The series “Push” sprang from this larger body of work, as I found myself inside the City of Phoenix Waste Transfer Station itself. From a catwalk two floors up I watched as garbage trucks, bulldozers and other heavy equipment engaged in a choreographed dance - sweeping, sorting and pushing the collected waste of the city. I was mesmerized by the grace of swirling trucks, the trajectory of arched lines created by rumbling equipment pushing the tonnage of city waste. The toiling machines created neatly quartered piles that were heaved through holes in the floor into the backs of waiting semis. Those trucks swiftly pulled out of the Transfer Station to haul the refuse to the city landfill where it would be deposited in the desert soil, across the street from the State Penitentiary. As soon as the concrete hall was cleared a new row of trucks appeared, dumping the vestige of adjoining neighborhoods, continuing the dance of sorting and scraping. The floor undulated, changing as rapidly as a seascapes’ rising tide with layers of mark making created by the overwhelming, continuous flow of trash, some of which was unquestionably my own.