There’s a place called Eden, on the edge of the Red Desert, in the heart of the State of Wyoming. It has a highway running through it with a gas station. Before there was this highway, it was the Oregon Trail. On one end of the highway is the town of Rock Springs, where mobile homes dot the hills to house the gas and oil workers. And on the other end is the town of Pinedale, where more gas workers live mingled with hobby-ranchers. Beyond that is the moneyed encrustation of Jackson Hole. To the Northwest, the wall of the Wind Rivers mounts up. On the other side is Shoshone land and the sovereign territory of the Wind River Reservation, where the Shoshone and Arapahoe Peoples live, and where there is a new casino. People have been coming this way for a long time. There’s a small park in Eden with enormous cotton wood trees blowing in the constant wind. In this park are picnic tables with names and dates and messages scarred on them by passersby or teenagers over the years. On the edge of Eden people have dumped a few old cars and some refrigerators.
Besides Wyoming, I have lived in New Orleans, Eugene, New York, Poitiers (France), Ljubljana (in the new nation of Slovenia in Central Europe), New Haven, Sewanee, and now Melbourne, Australia. I have traced an intellectual and artistic journey which has provided me with stories to tell and which has shown me different ways to tell those stories. In 1985, I began to learn the discipline of history: in 1990 I dedicated my life to painting: in 1994 I became a fresco muralist: and in 2005 I turned to history again. Now I teach history, write, and make art.
My work focuses on the origins, processes, and legacies of North American colonialism. In projects which span the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and which integrate history, the visual arts, and performance, I examine how American individuals reimagined and recreated their communities amidst the diaspora caused by colonialism, as well show how these new colonial polities at turns became the means of resistance to and the expansion of colonial endeavors.