"Borrowed Landscapes" gets its name from an East Asian landscaping technique (借景=shakkei) in which distant scenic elements, such as a mountain or a lake, are incorporated into the design of the garden. In these carefully composed spaces, background and foreground are flattened to form a 2D composition, like a painting.
Subverting traditional landscape painting, these mixed-media Borrowed Landscape collages depict what at first glance appear to be views into a tropical rainforest; instead they are staged, cropped-in views into botanical conservatories found in Brooklyn, the Bronx or Kyoto, complicating our assumptions about what is interior and exterior, natural and manufactured, original and copy, native and foreign. Mimicking the pieced-together quality of these constructed biomes, the technique of collage draws attention to the illusionistic quality of image-making itself.
The series also serves as a visual metaphor for the human experience of migration, immigration, cultural displacement: how when we remove ourselves from our "native" environment, there follows a period of disorientation akin to vertigo. Like the plants at a botanical garden, learning to thrive in a foreign environment that eventually becomes a kind of home -- however staged -- and adapting to it by learning new customs and languages, is a kind of camouflage for self-protection. Assembling a sense of self from the pieces of new cultures and knowledge we acquire is similar to the process of collage: of rebuilding a whole, however awkward or disjointed, from improvised and cobbled-together pieces of our own borrowed landscapes.