Fade - 42” x 30”
Expired Land Polaroids, Walnut, Oak, and Beetle Kill Pine

The Science:
This artwork depicts the impact of Spruce Beetles on Monarch Pass, where 90% of Engelmann Spruce trees have been killed.

The title, Fade, is in reference to the the term used by forest scientists to indicate the fading of color from the trees needles due to beetle activity. Over the course of two years, as the beetles mature from larvae to adult, the tree slowly fades from a dark green to light grey. During aerial survey’s, the amount of “fading” is an indicator of infestation.

The piece utilizes expired land polaroids, which, due to chemical instability, only develop images 10% of the time.  This mirrors the experience of being on Monarch Pass today, where only 10% of the spruce trees remain, creating a visual parallel to the landscape’s transformation.  

The frames incorporate wood from a variety of tree species—walnut, oak, and beetle-kill pine—to underscore that this story is not just about the spruce tree. Many of the same underlying conditions of climate change are threatening trees across the country in unique but interconnected ways.

Spruce beetle kill is just one example of many.

While  this project explores the impacts of a specific beetle in a specific location during a specific time, it is also an invitation to consider what lies beyond what we currently see.