Artist's Statement

Becky Wilkes

“From Janie to Janie” explores the implications of our throwaway society through the examination of debris meticulously collected from the shoreline of Eagle Mountain Lake, near Fort Worth, TX. For one year during the drought of 2014 to 2015, every item found on one mile of newly exposed lakefront was photographed in-situ and again in studio, and then arranged into large scale digital collages. These artifacts speak to me and I seek to understand them, account for them and present them in patterns that respond to their inherent typological language. Individually, the collages reveal the variety, quantity and rate of disintegration of the materials in the lakefront. Collectively, they overwhelm the viewer, hopefully into awareness and action.

Initially, I set aside my biases about the nature of trash and focused instead as an archaeologist might study the trailings of a civilization, following in the footsteps of Augustus Rivers who first insisted that all artifacts, not just beautiful or unique ones be collected and catalogued. With the abundant runoff of the Spring 2015 flooding, and subsequent barrage of debris filling my immediate landscape, I began to realize the migratory nature of trash in our waterways flowing from our drainage ditches and roadways. Eagle Mountain Lake, while only 14 square miles in size, is fed by a watershed of over 850 square miles. Either by accidental or intentional action, the countryside is being inundated on a massive scale by the individual fingerprints of personal irresponsibility.