The Terra Forma series began in 2016 and continues today, it was born from a need to engage myself and others with our own sustenance, the earth. I pull forms out of the existing environment and site, gathering natural objects from our subliminal background and placing them into a designed foreground experience for the viewers. I begin these terra forms as a sensing of place, restricting myself to what nature provides as materials for each form and working primarily within an imposed spherical boundary as a planetary referent.
The work harkens back to the meaningful intentions of rituals such as Navajo sand paintings and Tibetan mandalas but also rises out of my own desire for a spiritual/creative practice to foster a intimate connection to the earth. Other musings for this work are derived from enthusiasm as a gardener, environmentalist, and for community. I lean into a creative labor, temporarily moving and manipulating the dirt on site by digging and molding the earth. The process becomes a very physical meditation and a collaboration. I later place collected flora and playfully, obsessively, re-arrange the nature of our background into a design of the foreground. I work with the elements and weather of the day, the invasive and the native plants, dead and alive; I work primarily with what is. I also employ the additional use of colorful spices on these localized forms, allowing me to enhance or contrast the aesthetics inherent to the surrounding nature. Within weeks or days, I lift my bent oak perimeters and all elements are sifted back into their place of origin.
As an artist with a long history in photography, digital manipulation, performance art and installation, my practice of creating forms from an authentic relationship to the earth fuses all mediums. The heightened moment of completion is photographed and becomes an archival print, an artifact of the momentary (or temporal moment). Making in places where others circulate ‘outside’ is a significant performative aspect to my work. I often place forms in high circulation areas and leaving collected found materials where people would feel comfortable adding to each Terra Form. Sometimes I invite specific groups or pedestrians to work with me or refresh the work with newly collected foliage in the following days. The experience is to be shared, changed and felt by others, with the hopes of inspiring a deeper engagement to the sophistication and balance of the natural world. After years of separating ourselves with climate controlled lodging and impervious surfaces, this “Terra Forma” series seeks to encourage others to feel the air that is, the leaves that tremble, and the earth beneath their feet.
- Crista Cammaroto, revised summer 2020