The Valley 2006
I used the various materials excavated from this old upholstered chair to make the attached landscape: a depiction of Hetch Hetchy Valley before the O’Shaugnessy Dam was built and the valley flooded in 1923, becoming one of San Francisco’s primary sources for fresh water. At the time Hetch Hetchy Valley was compared in grandeur and beauty to its neighbor, Yosemite. The fight between city officials and the Sierra Club over the dam’s construction marks the birth of contemporary environmentalism, and the dam remains controversial to this day.
Here I am interested in the metaphoric relationship between the valley and the chair, both symbols of domesticity and comfort; the concrete relationship between natural resources and the development of the city; and the role that landscape painting and photography played in domesticating the West.