Prairie Channels & Canals
Prairie Channels & Canals
Drawing on maps of Iowa, Davenport, Northern Illinois
42 x 21 3/8 inches unframed

This a “visual biography created for Erin and Peter Lane through a Zoom call and a number of emails. It is hard to sum up anyone’s life, but I was struck by certain facts: they both grew up in the Davenport area and eventually moved east to Chicago and both expressed a love for the Mississippi and Lake Michigan. After a great deal of experimentation, the “wind” seemed like a good way to represent these aspects of their lives. Have you ever tried to draw the wind? I wanted a wind strong enough to divide the Mississippi into channels and drive it east toward canals in the Chicago area. I wanted winds that could move barges and raise waves on the river’s channels, canals and Lake Michigan. A tornado or huge storm seemed too many negative. So, I decided a gyre of blowing prairie grasses could imply the kind of strong winds experienced on the northern plains. Besides, it was fun to turn Iowa and northern Illinois back into prairie and look back at the Mississippi which has a history of re-channeling its waters.

Private Collection, Chicago