American Beauty with LILY PRINCE and RICHARD KLIN

American Beauty, 18, 2020. 60 x 60 ins. © Lily Prince for Zephyr and Maize

There is a verdant expansiveness. It is not the verdant expansiveness of greenery and fields and lakes. This locus is a harvest, instead, of pinks, purples, aqua. Variations of grays and browns support wild, vivid, surprising hues. The sweeping vistas need to be interpreted vertically, diagonally, not horizontally.

American Beauty, 20, 2020. 60 x 60 ins. © Lily Prince for Zephyr and Maize

The distance one can observe is miles and miles away, a display of entirely different weather patterns. The aqua shines amid the intense midday heat. The sky absorbs the myriad of elements.

American Beauty, 19, 2020. 60 x 60 ins. © Lily Prince for Zephyr and Maize

The land is undulating, the regularity soon ascending into a locus both symmetrical and zigzaggy. The terrain is hospitable, but only to a point. It demands certain rules and strictures.

American Beauty, 12, 2020. 60 x 60 ins. © Lily Prince for Zephyr and Maize

The purple plains lie to the east, framed by the hulking orange mountain. There is the strong intimation of fire, of dancing flames. The land has seen it all, a whole array of interlopers and conquerors. Could the idea of the collective unconscious be applied to this terrain, the elements fusing together over thousands of years in a shared understanding?

American Beauty, 10, 2020. 60 x 60 ins. © Lily Prince for Zephyr and Maize

The Saguaro cactus stands in the foreground, serving as a welcoming guide. Off to the right stand an entire gathering of more Saguaro. The row upon row of cacti feels like living, thinking beings, sentinels. They can die of old age. One gets the sense that if you were to get lost amid the desert at night, they would assist you, or at least point the way. We drove through New Mexico. Our backseat soon began filling up with unfamiliar snacks bearing odd-sounding names and strangely colored wrappers. Despite our best intentions, there were the various Navajo trinkets we felt compelled to purchase. All of these United States sit on occupied land, yet the feeling is particularly pronounced amid the caverns and rocky twists of the southwest. This is a society built upon another society. After a holocaust of deadly proportions, life is picked up, gathered, stitched together. Native women selling blankets at the side of the road can be construed as a tangible, visible tragedy. The patterns are woven together like textiles. There is a tactile sense. You can feel the materials, take in the olfactory impressions. The aural sensibilities can be heard too, if you listen. The soundscape is distinctive, translating into endless aural unfoldings. A solitary bird call is followed by a response, all from enormous distances. The birds feel busy, their calls not a breezy, songbirds’ give-and-take. The wide, arid expanses and the canyons harbor pastoral beauty and menace both. Less lethally, tricksters make their home here. It all requires adaptability and a certain amount of cunning.

Once achieved, the natural world is free to blossom in its endless, inviting combinations; shapes, sounds, smells, colors, and hues form a Garden of Eden. Exuberant restraint, palpable abundance.

Written by: Richard Klin

Featured work: © Lily Prince for Zephyr and Maize

Edited by: Varia Serova