MPB Umwelt, 2015
denim pine, 5' 8" x 8' x 8'
Off Lomas, Albuquerque, NM
MPB Umwelt was originally produced for an exhibition in British Columbia, Canada where it responded to an artwork that sat outside of the gallery, a welded steel pyramid, painted sky blue, by artist Bridge Beardslee. Although this 1970s pyramid dealt with strategies of the time, mysticism and minimalist art production, Knowles has updated the pyramidal form with materials that have been transformed as a result of climate change brought on by industrial production – denim pine.
Denim pine is wood that has been affected by the mountain pine beetle (MPB), the blue staining of the wood is created by a fungus that the beetles inject under the bark to paralyze the tree’s natural defense system (sap) in order to lay their larva. This allows the larvae to mature and feed on the tree. The fungus also inhibits the tree's ability to take up water and nutrients, which in turn starves it to death. This natural blue stain is the color is of the tree’s death brought on by human caused conditions implemented to support industrialization rather than health of the forest.
cont'd on next slide