Paper Buck (2020)

Paper Buck began the “Settleroscene” series of mixed media work as an MFA student at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Art.

The Forest Is Its Own Archive (above), was on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art, as part of the February 2020-January 2021 exhibition “Counterpressures,” which focused on ten Pittsburgh artists and the urgency of climate change. Buck’s work for the exhibition is the first in a new series calling the “Settlerocenes.” These new works critically play off ideas of the “anthropocene” to think through how settler colonialism continues to restrain and define concepts of conservation, environmentalism, and ecological interrelationship. You can find my interview with the Anthroposcene curator at the Carnegie Museum of Science, Nicole Heller, here.


The image was first composed as a digital collage, then digitally printed on gampi paper, which was adhered to the canvas and painted upon. Embedded images within the collage are drawn from historical societies, familial archives, field research, found imagery, and art historical sources, such as Thomas Cole’s 1845 piece, the “Hunters Return.” The series grows from Buck’s research within the “Tornado In the Cathedral” project, addressing the social and ecological history and futurity of a particular forest he grew up beside, in the Housatonic and Muheakunnuk/Hudson River Valleys, in Mahican and Schaghticoke territory.

This series was made possible by grant# 2020-036 from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier. Additional images can be found here.