Off The Grid by Becky Wilkes

January 5 - February 16, 2018 

Reception: January 5, 2018; 6 - 9pm

“Off The Grid” is a series of light-hearted vignettes created from individual photographsof debris collected from the lake shore of Eagle Mountain Lake.

During the drought of 2014, receding water levels unveiled hidden shorelines and abundant debris. During my walks on the beach, I photographed each item as it lay, often not knowing what I was photographing until it was unearthed. Akin to ancient superstition, I felt that if I captured an object’s image, I was responsible for it. Dutifully, I pushed my wheelbarrow along the beach to assist in the removal of these items.

From these photographs, I built digital collages, or “Grids”, to include each item of debris as it was found or rephotographed in the studio. Eventually, I began to explore other representations of my material. Thus, individual items fell “Off the Grid” into vignettes. Debris over time, combined with sun, wind and wave breaks apart into interesting bits of color, sometimes recognizable, sometimes not. Without being overly obvious, the viewer can be lead to consider the impact of bottles and other debris in our recreational areas.

Initially, I set aside my biases about trash and focused on my “treasures”. But, with the abundant runoff of the May 2015 flood, and subsequent barrage of debris filling the lake, I began to understand the migratory nature of trash in our waterways flowing from our drainage ditches and roadways. Eagle Mountain Lake, while only 9 square miles in size, is fed by a watershed of over 800 square miles. Either by accidental or intentional action, our countryside is being inundated on a massive scale by the individual fingerprints of personal irresponsibility.

Becky Wilkes lives with her husband on Eagle Mountain Lake in Azle, TX. Educated as a Chemical Engineer at Texas A&M, she spent much of her life as a stay-at-home mother of four children who have now blessed her with a multitude of perfectly fantastical grandchildren. She continues her study of photography at the Northeast Campus of Tarrant County College.

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