Lauren Feden

Landscape can be used as a point of reference to explore the cultural relationship of people with their

surroundings. Places leave marks on us just as we leave marks on them. In the Midwest, our history is in

our landscape. Edges of property have different patterns due to differences in usage and in response to

topography. We are “flyover territory,” but evidence of man is present even in the most remote places.

Our interaction with land leaves marks that allow a viewer to understand where the land is on the

spectrum of natural to man-made. Land is our history, but is also a commodity.

Through the medium of printmaking I explore these ideas by carving agricultural patterns onto wooden

furniture. The furniture I carve into had a prior lived history full of meaning to a previous owner.

However, to me the furniture's value is what I paid for it. The ink on the surface of the furniture allows it

to leave an actual mark in response to the marks I carve. Originally, I utilized only hand carving. The

marks I leave on the table are a metaphor for farming and working the land. However, as time progressed,

the process of farming is now greatly aided by machinery. This parallels my use of making marks made

with a Dremel in addition to hand carving. Through this metaphor, my work explores the ties of place to a

person in order to explore how our Midwestern identity relates to our landscape. Nowhere isn’t nowhere

to the people who live and work there.