Michelle Peterson-Albandoz grew up surrounded by forests in both Connecticut and Puerto Rico, and found a connection to them that has lasted throughout her creative career. Experiencing first-hand the pristine quality and balance of these ecosystems made her hyper aware of the effect humans have on the environment outside of those woods. Now having lived in Chicago for nearly twenty years, Peterson-Albandoz has been surrounded by a constantly changing urban landscape, full of both destruction and construction. Historic but decrepit wood buildings were pulled down like trees in logging sites and their planks and beams were systematically dumped into landfills, rotting in piles. Her artwork benefited from a visceral response to this waste. She began collecting heaps of the discarded wood and turning them into the basis of her artistic process today.
According to Peterson-Albandoz, “I deeply believe that nature is the universal connection that binds all of us together. Because this connection has been weakened through a lack of awareness, we are experiencing losses that are impossible to measure. Throughout the globe and across all cultures these losses will only become greater if we do not begin reconnecting to nature in a more conscious and direct way. With a minimalist set of aesthetics, the viewer can meditate on the wood without being distracted by an imposed narrative. This allows the viewers to create their own personal relationship with the materials and at least for a moment, feel a deeper connection to nature. In this way, I hope to help shift the tides of our collective cultural awareness towards a more environmentally sensitive society.”