While in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, I became fascinated with the bunkers dotting the landscape of the Marin Headlands. The coastal defense bunkers remain in a dilapidated form today – resting military monoliths in the now public lands of the National Park Service. Facing the persistent Pacific Ocean, the bunkers are slowly giving way to erosion.
Based in the history of landscape painting, but injected with remains of the complicated military history in the region, the paintings imagine the bunker’s further dissolution into the landscape and highlight their isolated and largely forgotten past. My interest in them is their former function as observation outposts: always on guard, looking out for a threat that never came. As objects of protection and defense they also carry the weight of militaristic control. For me, along with those dialogues, they are a metaphor for the artist – an active but stationary observer.