Representing the vanishing present of my own perspective and the fleeting nature of my experiences, these digital paintings capture the vanishing presence of geological formations in several U.S. National Parks, as they struggle against the effects of climate change, threats of industrialized exploitation and commercial over-development. Presently, an experience within any national park can change relatively quickly as external, non-natural forces impact the landscape in a short span of years rather than over centuries. This intersection of my vanishing present and the parks‰۪ vanishing presence forms the basis for my own sense of neo-nostalgia ‰ÛÒ as my attempts to appreciate and capture various national parks through my transient experience in them.
Conventionally, when one evokes the concept of nostalgia, it is a retrograde longing and romanticism for objects, values and attitudes of many decades or even centuries long past. Visually, images of these objects, values and experiences tend to be rendered in sepia and muted color tones. However, in visiting national parks such as Bryce Canyon National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park, my experiences and memories are much more vivid. For me, neo-nostalgia is the recognition of the fleeting present, steeped in vibrant, almost hallucinogenic saturated visual tones that I present in these digital watercolors. This approach enhances the inherent drama of nature‰۪s monuments, in both perseverance and uncertainty. These pieces are my responses to the awe of nature‰۪s beauty, fears about the destruction of that beauty, and the hope that this destruction from outside human forces can be stopped and reversed in some manner. ‰ÛÓ Rodney Buxton