Salvages (2000 - )
We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name — we call it recycling.
Neil LaBute

Since 1960, the nation’s municipal waste stream has nearly tripled, reaching a reported peak of 369 million tons in 2002. That’s more stuff, per capita, than any other nation in the world, and 2.5 times the per capita rate of Oslo, Norway. The increase is due partly to increased population but mostly to the habits of average residents, who now throw out, says the EPA, 4.5 pounds of garbage per day…
Elizabeth Rovte, Garbage Land, 2005
What sets wilderness apart in the modern day is not that it’s dangerous (it’s almost certainly safer than any town or road) or that it’s solitary (you can, so they say, be alone in a crowded room) or full of exotic animals (there are more at the zoo). It’s that five miles out in the woods you can’t buy anything.
Bill McKibben, The Age of Missing Information, 1992

In part, the Salvage series is a painter’s nod to Jess’ (Collins) “Salvage” series of oil paintings. Similar to that important body of work, this series also centers on discarded, found and recycled art. Unlike that series, the work in this series is not limited to oil painting, but instead, exclusively focuses upon reclaiming landscape imagery. In opposition to the sister series, Terra Reverentia—which conceptually requires the recreation of landscape paintings in oil and which allows for alterations of the original image—the Salvage series is dependent on outcast works and ironically disallows any attempt to alter the original. In this series, change is conceptual and is only visible to the mind via the juxtapositions in each work—between landscape, selected objects and the title of each piece.
The central images of land that make up this series are often my own abandoned landscapes or are otherwise land images that do not emanate from my studio. It matters not from whence the land images come; if abandoned and found, they are all in need of being usurped by the principles of Salvages. Though this series is still only composed of a few works, its intended scope aims at chronicling the short history of ecology.
Todd Bartel, June 2010