Archive for July, 2010

When I asked my youngest son Adam if he wanted to go to the Falls with me he said yes for the first time in a while.  Everyone has their busy schedules these days, but somehow our calendars intersected on this day.  We went after supper when there was still a couple of hours of good light left.

Adam asked me if I had a fort out here like last year?  You know, the one with all the Styrofoam in it and if so, are we going there?  Barely were the words out of his mouth when he walked into my studio site.  Everything was as I left it except for the big helmeted figure which had fallen over.  In a way, this piece has become the figurehead of my driftwood boat for this season and as my unofficial mascot I respectfully stood it back up.

Adam wanted to go exploring around my area and while he did that I made this quick figure.  Two pieces of found polystyrene, coal eyes, plastic pen cap nose, wooden ears, plastic mouth, a plastic neck collar, and five sharpened sticks along with a foam letter “A” comprise the materials used to make this guy.  By the time Adam got back from circling around the site it was time to go…but first we could make a few photos along the way.

Of the pictures I took of the “Mister A” figure, this was my favorite.  The wrecked cooler adds a lot of formal interest.  Adam was getting hot and thirsty and so it was time to move on home.  I thanked him for coming along and promised him a cold sports drink at the next convenient store down the street.  Maybe it won’t be so hot the next time we explore together and we can stay longer?  Here’s one more shot before closing.

Read Full Post »

Continuing my last walk…I came to the area that would be my base for the day.  There is a favorite tree with exposed roots that you can sit under and remain cool and out of the sun.  Previous visitors decorated this spot with many vertical sticks that give a fence-like impression.  Here’s two views, first the base of this tree as seen from the outside:

…and a view from the inside.  Over the years, I have left many small sculptures in this area.  They never seem to last very long in here.

Last week was my birthday, and so on this outing I have new tools.  Earlier in the year, I lost my handy two-bladed Swiss Army knife which was a previous gift from a friend.  It had a nice, easy to sharpen blade and a toothy saw that could cut wood.  Replacing that knife are these two objects.  My family gave me the updated Swiss Army knife complete with tweezers and toothpick.  My friend Jeff gave me the bigger saw.  Its blade folds out and has the advantage of locking.  I definitely can chew through a nicely sized limb with this baby! 

On this particular trip, the heat and humidity put a damper on doing anything ambitious.  I hung around this area for a couple of hours and made this guy who was checking out the butterflies in the purple loosestrife.

I found a little bit of Styrofoam to work with and this red plastic object that looks like a pipe.  I used tiny plastic fishing bobbers for eyes and the ears are clam shells.  Later because the shells kept falling off, I substituted a flat rock and sand-polished glass for the ears.  It’s subtle and you might not notice this change at first.  As for the place I was working at…last year the Purple Loosestrife was getting a foothold and now it is firmly entrenched.  This is a hard to get rid of invasive plant that plays havoc in small wetlands like this one.  The butterflies, however, love this weed. 

Among the many species feeding from the purple flowers is this Tiger Swallowtail, Pterourus glaucus.  This is a boldly patterned and large butterfly of summer.  I have seen some beat up looking butterflies of different species and am assuming they are from an earlier brood that perhaps over-wintered here?  The tiger swallowtail also has a common melanistic form and I also saw one of those out here today.

You can see the “tiger stripes” showing on his hind wing.  Also working these flowers were the large bumble bees we saw earlier on the morning glories.  I also observed several large, blue-black wasps that I associate with being spider hunters.  They are so intent on gathering nectar that they pay no attention to me.  All through the loosestrife insects were working the flowers.  Clearly, this plant has no shortage of pollinators.

Mr. Red Pipe was enjoying himself in all this purple haze and humidity.  There was something reassuring about watching all this insect life packed into a relatively small area.  Another favorite butterfly is hanging on a loosestrife blossom not too far away and if we move deliberately…we might not spook it away.

It’s an Orange Sulphur, Colias eurytheme.  We have several other members of the Sulphur family out here along with Viceroys, Red Admirals, and a couple different Skipper species.  I love the yellow-green eyes on this butterfly which seem to have a glow to them.

All my water is gone and so the idea of returning to my car sets in.  I have another bottle waiting for me there.  Tomorrow is supposed to be another high temperature day in the 90’s.  After our June being a record setter, it seems July is out for bragging rights too.  Before leaving, I snap one more picture of the Purple Loosestrife in its prime with the railroad bridge visible in the far distance. 

Read Full Post »

Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year.  Walking out my front door this morning I’m surprised by how warm and humid it is already.  When I reached the Falls, I decided to take cover from the direct sun by walking along the Woodland Trail.  All the combined vegetation produces a spicy fragrance.  Vines are in their glory and in areas of good sunlight they have grown over some of the trees.  Birds are hunting for insects among the leaves.  They listen for the locations of singing cicadas.

And, once in a while they catch a cicada as this male Northern cardinal has done.  He’s not the only bird moving through the canopy. 

Grackles are stalking along the tree limbs.  They always seem to be just out of reach of my camera.  I had a bit of better luck coming across two Downy Woodpeckers chasing each other in the interest of courtship. So, they didn’t focus on me.  The male held still long enough for me to capture this image.  He’s waiting for the female to make a counter move and then it will be his turn again.  They flew between tree trunks for several minutes.

I’m heading out to the western section of the park.  As suspected there are fewer people in this area.  After crossing the creek, I was looking for the trail leading to the river when I came across this unexpected floral surprise.  I do remember seeing escaped hibiscus blooming among the driftwood collected along the eastern dam.  Perhaps these are the same plants that were transplanted here during the last flooding incident?

I will admit to not knowing my plants as well as I do the animals.  And so, if I’m wrong on the identification of this plant, please let me know.  In the interim, I will keep looking at my guides for other possibilities.  What made this encounter even more interesting…another blossum was less than ten feet away.  I wonder if this plant came from the same source up river?

These large blooms along with the heat and sticky humidity added an extra jungle-like quality to the walk thus far.  Although it’s hot, I’m grateful I have my long pants on instead the cooler shorts.  There are stinging nettles, poison ivy, and sharp-edge grasses around to irritate your skin.  It’s a big relief today to walk out from under the trees and into the light.

I haven’t yet reached today’s destination, but I’m back at the water’s edge.  I accidently frightened away a pair of Great Blue Herons from the rocks they were hunting from.  I’m going to continue this adventure in my next post.  I have many more nice pictures and I eventually made a piece.  On this day, however, it was mostly about the walk.  Before closing, here’s another bird picture.  It’s a Black-crowned Night -Heron fishing in the shallow, but swift moving river.  He would hold his left foot off to the side while in the water.  I wondered if he did this so that fish bumping into the leg would alert him?  Maybe this helps in water with poor visibility?  That’s it for now…I look forward to sharing this outing the next time around.

Postscript:  My friend Don Lawler turned me in the right direction by suggesting the hibiscus I saw and photographed are in the mallow family.  The white flowers have been identified as being examples of the Crimson-Eyed Rose-Mallow.  The pink flower is from the Swamp Rose-Mallow.  Interestingly, both flowers are considered to be conspecific, meaning they are the same species!  That would explain their proximity to one another at this location.  Their scientific name is Hibiscus palustris.  You learn something everyday!

Read Full Post »

The last several weeks at the Falls have yielded many favorite images that don’t always make it into my posts. Until now.  Here’s a collection of found objects photographed in situ at the moment of discovery.  Most of the items are lost toys that have travelled with the Ohio River to be washed up here and mixed with wood chips and fragments of our material culture.  An example of this is the so-called “Sand Lion” I discovered on the riverbank.  It’s rubbery and sticky and the sand clings to it easily.  It’s meant to be inflated by blowing through the mouth piece located at the tail.  Reminds me of a horned toad the way it lays in the sand.  I also came across this variant of a sand lion with its punkish hair style.

This sand lion is hardly fearsome with its child friendly smile.  I later found another animal object on the driftwood.  It’s a bear with a twist having been formed with polystyrene foam.  This was premade and I didn’t have to do anything else with it except to take its picture for my collection.

And now for a series of images of circular and spherical objects.  These are the things that catch my eye.  Of course the artificially colored plastic stands out nicely against the natural tones found at the river.

One final image before eye fatigue overwhelms you!  More flower images, but this time its decorations on the side of a plastic Barbie cup found on the riverbank’s mud and offered as “Cheers!” to you.  I’m looking forward to this weekend to see what is different at the Falls since my last adventure.  The forecast, however, is calling for temperatures around 100 degrees fahrenheit.  I don’t expect much will be moving quickly on this day.

Read Full Post »

The other night after supper I had an hour or so to visit the river before the sun set.  So, I escaped to the river and my favorite park to check out the quality of the light as it slowly sets below the horizon.  During this time of year, the days are longer.  In short order, I was able to make this little figure from Styrofoam found on site.  What looks to be a green feather on this guy’s head is actually a miniature plastic skateboard missing its tiny wheels.  I used found coal for his eyes and his ears are small clam shells.  I tied some string around his waist for a belt.

Although it rained lightly a couple of days a go, things are looking a bit stagnant and dry in places.  The weatherman on the television gave some earlier hints that strong storms were a possibility for our area.  We shall wait and see.  For now, a quick stroll is in order before the rain comes or at least until the sun sets for another day.  Wandering near the river, I hear the calls of Killdeer plovers who are so good at sounding the alarm whenever danger is present…in this case, it’s me.  I managed this one quick photo of a bird hiding in an isolated patch of  grass.  The bright red eye-ring is visible making its eyes appear larger.

I noticed that whenever one of the resident vultures flew over, this bird would duck down in the grass.  Although the vultures don’t pose any danger, the Killdeer instinctively hide from what might be a bird of prey intent on eating it.  I have seen an American Kestrel make a meal of one of these large plovers before way out on the fossil beds on the Kentucky side.

There is a drying out occurring and all the small pools of water are evaporating.  In the process, they become more and more stagnant and I bet there’s a wealth of life in a single drop of this water.  I move the figure closer to the river’s edge to see what we can find.

The fishermen have had their moments.  Left on the bank are the remains of dead fish and the trash the anglers didn’t want to deal with packing back to their vehicles.  Of course, the vultures love all the fish and make short work of them.  What the birds miss…the flies find.

I do get a bit upset by the litter left behind by the fishermen.  I wouldn’t consider them sportsmen because they seem to have little regard for this resource.  I wish the people in charge of patrolling the park would come down here more often than they do.  I’m sure they would find many people out here fishing without a license.  I think some official presence visiting occasionally would be a good reminder to keep this place cleaner.

There are still isolated piles of previously collected river debris waiting for the trip to the landfill.  I hope at some point in the near future that this junk gets picked up for good.  For the moment, it represents a job half completed.  At this point in my visit, I perceive  that the quality of the light is different and a breeze is kicking up.  From the west I can see that the weatherman has a good shot of being right about his forecast.  A storm is on its way and I gather my stuff for the return trip home.  I hope the storm is a good one because this place could use a little freshening up.

Read Full Post »

This post is actually to announce a new collection that I have added to my pages section.  It’s more of an experiment…an idea that I have had for a while and only just now put it together.  Plastic bottles are objects that I have been photographing at the Falls of the Ohio for a couple of years now.  I see so many of these that I decided to order my image collection roughly by what color the bottles are.  I remember seeing works by Tony Cragg that were made with fine gradations of colored plastic in fact our local Speed Museum used to exhibit one in their permanent collection.  So, I guess I’m counting his work among the influences for this piece along with your standard box of crayons!  Most of these bottles originally contained soap solutions (laundry detergent, shampoo, dish washing liquid) or various car care products (oil, anti-freeze, gas treatments, etc…).  Of course, since they are all made of plastic, they are also derived from petroleum.  I think the best way to view this collection is to stroll down fairly quickly.  I think I will try to add to this collection as I go along throughout my Falls of the Ohio Project and see where it goes.  Look under my Pages section and look for the Plastic Bottle Color Spectrum tag.  Thanks!

Read Full Post »

Early morning at the Falls of the Ohio is often the best time to visit the river in the summertime.  Of course, you beat the hard-core heat of the day and there is a clean quality to the light that makes this landscape seem new.  The other animals seem to understand this and birds in particular are more active and expending energy in search of food.  I watched a pair of ospreys diving on fish under the beaks of the herons and struggle to carry away their prizes to a nest that is no doubt nearby.  Along the riverbank, red-winged blackbirds stop chasing each other long enough to pursue and eat the latest batch of mayflies to crawl out of this water.

Following a meandering path I reach the latest version of my temporary studio site under the willow trees.  The big figure with the lacrosse helmet is still here, but we have had visitors.  A saw blade I sometimes use to trim larger pieces of wood is jutting out of the figure’s abdomen, but otherwise there is no damage.  I remove the saw blade and stand the figure back up and turn my attention to making something new.  I found an unusual piece of Styrofoam that looks like folded drapery and I create this small figure that makes his debut in this post.  I remember thinking while I made him that he represented some kind of kneeling holy figure in his sacred robes.  Among the earliest written descriptions of the Ohio River come from French missionaries who called it ” La Belle Riviere”…the Beautiful River.

I wouldn’t describe myself as being religious in the common use of the term.  I would, however, say that what mysticism or spirituality I have been able to perceive in the world has come from contemplating nature and by making art.  Something in the power of creating something from nothing conjures up the divine for me.  I guess that’s what I like about using these river found materials…it’s all rubbish, but what I select and how I put things together has the ability to elicit a positive reaction in others.  It’s more than recycling at that point and becomes transformative.

Walking along the wood’s edge I come across this Large Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala) and I snap its picture.  My collection of butterfly images from the Falls is growing and I follow the same rule I have for the bird photos.  Everything I include in this project has to have been seen within the environs of the park.  I have seen lots of everything everywhere else, but if it wasn’t seen in the park than it doesn’t count for this project.  I want to get to know this place as well as I can and that includes learning the names of the life forms that inhabit or visit this space from time to time.  I’m also building up a nice field guide collection along the way!

Moving my Styrofoam holy man around, I come across the results of the river sweep that occurred several weeks a go.  It’s one thing to collect this stuff, but in order for it to mean anything…some follow through needs to happen.  It won’t be long before these plastic bags rip apart and we are right back where we started from.  It might even be harder to recruit volunteers the next time around because what’s the point right?

I recall from my art school days discussions of early modernism and spiritualism.  Each seems to have informed the other.  Kandinsky in particular stands out for me because of his theoretical writings.  I confess liking his words a little more than I cared for his later paintings.  What resonated with me is the idea that there is an inner necessity for both time and space that finds expression out of the inner necessity of the artist. 

The world was in a little better physical condition a century a go when Kandinsky and the early modernists were active.  People, other artists, ask me why I’m still doing what I’m doing at the Falls because surely by now I’ve made what points I can make?  My reply is that I’m still compelled to come out here, still feel the tug of inner necessity and with each passing day feel that what I’m doing is more important than before.  What is now necessary is that we need to acknowledge and care for the physical world and the other forms of life that also call this place home. 

Artists are important in that they possess the ability to help generate the visions that will help get us through this point in our development.  This is something which seems lacking to me at the moment.  Where is the optimism we should have at this point in the new century?  Is the blatant materialism all we can connect with anymore?  Fortunately, I’m meeting more and more young people who want to become artists that are actively questioning things again and I will offer my help to them however I can.

Read Full Post »

The late afternoon light has this wonderful ability to turn the normally silvery driftwood golden.  It’s a form of alchemy that nature performs on a nearly daily basis if the sun is willing.  I have a few hours to scout around and make something should the opportunity arise.  One of the first places I go by is my Styro-atelier to check on how the big figure Ariana and I worked on is holding up.  There is usually some suspense as to whether the spot has been discovered and will the sculpture be intact or there at all?

This time everything appears in order.  I sit on the nice plank of wood I found and set up to be my work area and I survey my materials.  Grabbing a smaller piece of Styrofoam, the beginnings of an idea start to take shape.   I will try to make my idea physical by using the poor materials I have scavenged off the riverbank.  I have given myself the limitation of not being able to carve the Styrofoam.  It would be easier to bend my idea to my will if I allowed myself to cut away.  As it is, I just poke holes in the Styrofoam.  In this way, I feel my process respects the shaping that the river has already done.  It’s an odd kind of collaboration, but I think the river is okay with this because the mighty Ohio has rewarded me in so many ways.  Having this limitation is also a bit of a nice challenge.

I created the head first and I have the interesting notion that much in life enters the world in this way.  Reaching into my grab bag of bits and pieces I find the plastic nozzle from an aerosol can and this becomes a mouth.  The eyes are dots of coal.  The nose is…I don’t know what, just some piece of yellow plastic.  The ears are wood.   I found a plastic pink star and this becomes my figure’s headgear.  I like the energy and activity of this pose.

When I was younger, I used to do a lot of running.  Now, I do a lot of walking.  After so many years of sports and various forms of wear and tear, I can feel my age in my knees.  The figure in my hands has turned into a runner and I set him up around the Falls as though it were a cross-country course with obstacles to navigate around.  The Twilight Runner has had an easy time of it so far, but now the course is about to test him.

After running over a fairly dry shore line, our runner has jumped into an evaporating puddle.  It’s still too wet and our guy is becoming mired and a little panicky.  I recall as a child having this classic dream of traveling in the country by train.  At one point in the journey the train stops and passengers (myself included) disembark and wander into a field.  From over the nearby dreamtime hills the sound of barking dogs gets louder.  Everyone else hurries back to the train, but I stand there transfixed watching the pack of wild dogs cresting the hill and running towards me.  I manage to turn and start running back to the train, but the ground has turned to mud and every step in running away takes the greatest effort.  I could hear the dogs gaining on me, but I make it back to the train safely.  I do recall, however, feeling scared that I wouldn’t make it.  Mud has a way of making you feel helpless.  Fortunately, the runner is in no danger and the puddle is a small one and he manages to move onwards.

There are people fishing on the riverbank as the runner goes by a tire set upright in the now drying mud.  Among the junk deposited here by the river, the runner discovers a small soccer ball and decides to use it and the tire to good use.  It is World Cup time after all and I have a team in the finals for the first time since 1978! 

I was born in Amsterdam and have always followed the Dutch team.  I will need to find my orange t-shirt and hope it brings us luck.  If it doesn’t, well, I might need to go back to the river and walks things off a little bit.  Either way, it has been an entertaining tournament. I am glad, however, that this event only happens once every four years! 

Read Full Post »

The river is falling, but is not yet in summer pool.  Day by day the extensive Devonian fossil beds are revealed a little at a time.  The limestone surface is scalloped by the actions of the Ohio River and appears to be the landscape from another world…because in fact it is!  Throughout the rocky matrix are the fossilized remains of ancient marine creatures that populated this reef over 375 million years a go.  While my thoughts are lost in deep time, a procession of stately Canada geese glides by which brings me back to the present and my own animal existence.  It is really hot out here today and I brought extra water to drink.  Slowly the first eight geese becomes a large flock as more and more birds reveal themselves that were hiding behind the huge rocks that mark the Kentucky side of the fossil beds.  From my vantage point I count 83 geese which are the most Canada geese I have ever seen here at one time!  In the warmer weather months, the number of bird species here is less than in the spring, but the indigenous birds are entertaining and I enjoy noting aspects of their respective behaviors.  Here are two new birds I haven’t previously featured and I hope you will like them as I do.

It’s definitely cooler in the deep shade of the woods, but the mosquitoes are more numerous.  I can’t get myself to put poison on my skin to keep them away and so I try not to let them get inside my head.  I suppose that they don’t bother me as much as they do other people.  Maybe I don’t taste as good!  While cooling off by the big trees I came across this unusual species and it’s called more commonly the Bumble Bee Bird.  I think its scientific name is something like “Turdus bombus”, but I could be wrong.  “Turdus” is the genus of thrushes and” bombus” refers to bumble bees.  Seems to make sense.  So, you are probably wondering why this clumsy looking bird is named what it is named and I will show you why.

I came across this specimen hanging out at the forest’s edge where many morning glories were present.  These flowers grow close to the soil and sand and in places form thick blooming carpets.  Kind of pretty in an understated way.  Here’s the same bird hopping around some other morning glories, but is he just admiring the flowers or is there some other purpose afoot?

He’s in the deadly serious pursuit of something to eat, but not just any unfortunate creature or seed will do.  This species is aptly named because it has evolved to eat the large bumble bees that pollinate these flowers.

The bird waits for the bee to enter the bloom.  The bee has to get deep into the blossom to reach the sweet nectar it needs.  This is the moment when the bird comes from behind the bee and with its large red bill, seizes the bee crushing it and its nectar-filled abdomen.  The bee had no ability at this point to defend itself.  Stealing the nectar, the bird then tosses the dead bee into the air, catches it, and then swallows it head first.  It’s a doubly good meal and worth the expenditure of energy.

Also found in the cool of the forest is this little bird which is aptly named the Melancholy Dove, scientific name “Columbina melancholia”.  Smallest member of the dove family likely to be found this far north.  It is usually by itself or with a few of its kind and represents the antithesis of a former Falls of the Ohio resident…the now extinct Passenger Pigeon which congregated in immense flocks.  The Melancholy Dove is also recognized by its blue bill and sad expression on its face.  It is not an especially rare bird and I spot this species across the park during the summer season.

I found this bird sitting in a small garden near the Interpretive Center where it seemed unconcerned about the park visitors.  A nearby bird feeder has made this bird especially trusting and I fear that one of the many feral cats in the area will find an easily ambushed snack waiting on the wing.  Contributing to their melancholy name is the soft, plaintive coo…coo-coowee sound it makes during the breeding season.

On my way to my vehicle at the end of the day I came across this dove sitting by the Lewis and Clark statue.  It brought back to mind a mental image of a nice pen and ink drawing of this bird that was in one of the personal journals carried by one of the enlisted men that formed the crew of the Corps of Discovery.  I don’t remember the name of the soldier, but he had a fine eye and a sharp quill.  There were a few notes scribbled in the margins commenting that it was too small and not worth the effort to eat!

As summer settles into its now familiar sweltering pattern, I’m looking eagerly to the time when I can cross over the shallow water and explore the Kentucky side of the fossil beds.  There isn’t as much junk to find to make “art” from, but it’s a contemplative landscape for me that has also become something of a seasonal right of passage.  It takes all day to walk across the rocks and I’ll need plenty of water to keep me hydrated, but it is such an interesting place and I look forward to sharing it with you.  Stay cool everybody…the weatherman is calling for some hot ones this week.

Read Full Post »

The long Fourth of July weekend has created a few opportunities to visit the river.  On one of my excursions I had a special guest accompany me.  I’m always happy to be able to share what I know and do at this place called the Falls of the Ohio.  In my day job, I direct an art program for adults with developmental disabilities.  For the last two years my program has been lucky to have interns from Yale University who are part of the Bulldogs in the Bluegrass effort to recruit intelligent, motivated, young people to consider professional opportunities in Louisville.  Sometimes it works!  In the twelve-year existence of the program, 35 graduates have moved to our city to begin their careers.  This year our intern is named Ariana Parenti.  She’s a soon to be senior art student and Philadelphia is her hometown.  I think she was curious about working with artists with disabilities and wondering what else in the not for profit world she could turn her art degree towards?  The internship is a ten week, paid work experience and the coordinators of the Bulldog program have scheduled many fun and educational activities for all the interns to participate in.  This trek to the Falls to make art from river junk is not one of them! 

Ariana and I talked about so many things that it’s hard to find a good place to begin.  So, we walked around the riverbank collecting odd interesting bits of stuff, taking pictures and occasionally watching what the fishermen were catching.  Since my last post, catfish have become the fish of choice or at least they were biting.  I wondered what it must be like to walk into a space you first experienced as a site on the internet? For Ariana, this would be a part of her adventure.  The interval between those two points are like the difference between a traditional drawing and a sculpture.  At least with the sculpture you can walk around the object which changes your perspective as you have a three-dimensional experience in your own space.  As we approached my Styro-studio, I could see that something was very different.  Some one had taken the dark-eyed figure from my previous post and left me with a totem-like construction made from materials I had gathered and stored on site.  That’s fine!  I love it when people play along and anyone is free to use what I have left under the willow trees.  I had been wanting to make a larger figure from my scavenged Styrofoam and now I had Ariana to help assist me.  On our walk we found one especially nice prop we used and it’s a discarded lacrosse helmet which is the first one of these I’ve come across out here.

After dumping the contents of my trusty and official Lewis and Clark collecting bag onto the sand, we started mixing and matching the stored Styrofoam.  We had the helmet and needed a head to go in it.  After that, finding a body that seemed to go with the head was next.  The hardest part is selecting the driftwood branches that had enough articulation and gesture to make decent limbs.  That’s not always easy when you are looking for something particular in a mountain of tangled wood.  Here’s an image of the work in progress.  The blue body on this guy is not actually polystyrene but may be some form of fiberglass?  I’ve seen archery targets made from this stuff which is light but dense enough to stop an arrow.

For me, working at the Falls is about making art from the stuff of life in the space of life.  Each informs and influences the other.  The riverbank and nearby woods are my theater whose stage I populate with odd characters that you can interact with and become a part of the show. The sculptures act as temporal focal points…this is what I made on this day.  The images document the context as it existed in the park during that particular moment and form a record of my activities.  My work has a relational aspect to it, perhaps not in the literal postmodern meaning of the term.  I include pictures of the wildlife I encounter in this blog because they are a part of this world too and should not be discounted and dismissed.

Ariana and I talked about our various school experiences, had lunch, and made a few small pieces from the junk on site.  Then I picked up our blue, helmeted friend and looked for good places to take his picture.  I returned to the big tire from the previous post and placed him inside the wheel well and this is what he looked like on this bright, warm, and sunny day.

There are a few other tires stuck in the now drying mud and we posed our figure in this landscape.  The tire seems like some large croquet wicket!  Perhaps this is what the figure is doing…playing some obscure game that has rules to it that nobody understands?

And now one image with Ariana in it so you can have some sense for scale!

Walking along the riverbank we stumbled upon an old friend.  It’s the remains of a large plush Pink Panther toy that was stuck in the clay.  I remember finding this thing out here last year (for another image see my Mutant Toys post from last July).  I lifted it and it was surprisingly heavy.  Ariana took my picture and I think this is one of the rare images of the Artist at Exit 0 featured in this blog.

Stopping among the willow trees closest to the water, we posed the figure atop a mass of its amazing root system.  Here our figure looks like he’s pontificating about something important like the value of clean water for example. 

Since the day was moving along and Ariana had other engagements, I stashed our sculpture back at the studio site.  He may show up in something else if he isn’t found by others first.  We toured the Interpretive Center and I noticed their exhibits are starting to look care worn and I understand plans are underway to freshen them up soon.  I think Ariana enjoyed herself and I know I did.  I can’t imagine having the Louisville experience without coming here at some point because for us this is where it began and continues to be relevant.  I’ll end this post for today with a sign I found in the men’s room.  It’s not something you typically find in such a space, but it conveys an important message.  All around us we are being affected by non-native species and some of them are destructive pests like the Emerald ash borer.  We definitely don’t want to find this little guy hitch hiking to our woods!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: