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Posts Tagged ‘fishing line’

I’m back at the Falls of the Ohio and I can always count on finding different conditions or something new in the air…literally.  On this trip the willow trees were sending out their white fluffy seeds from their catkins.  In the low-lying areas in the sand or against some other barrier, the fluff accumulates into drifts like delicate dry snow.  Today the air is filled with this material as the willows express themselves.  I got used to seeing ghostly spots cross my vision.  Here is an image of where the fluff comes from.

At the river’s edge, more white stuff could be found washing ashore.  Unfortunately, this material is not as environmentally friendly as the willow’s product.  In several places I encountered thousands of tiny, soft, white, beads and I instantly recognized the source.

The white object on the right is a river-turned chunk of polystyrene.  Waves pounding the Styrofoam into the teeth of water born logs and the grinding of the Styrofoam into the sand at the river’s edge “sculpts” this material for me.  These mostly biomorphic forms are so hard-won by nature…that I feel a collaborative responsibility to not alter or impose my will upon them so much.  By shaping this material into organic shapes I “feel” the environment is curiously attempting to “humanize” the polystyrene by removing its rough edges.  Besides, I don’t want to free anymore of these white beads into the world if I can help it.  Here is another place I encountered where the freed polystyrene beads have run a muck.

And now, here are a few of the Styrofoam chunks I found this day followed by an image of where I store them until I can make use of them.

In the earliest days of my project, I can recall trying to fill up bags of this stuff for “proper” disposal.  It made me feel good that I was doing something environmentally friendly in the process.  Unfortunately, there is just too much Styrofoam in the world and places that I had picked up just became littered again with the next bout of high water and flooding.  That’s when it occurred to me that I could try to use this as an art making material.  If I could make something compelling enough…others might want to try to exercise their own creativity or help me out by taking the artwork home.  To some degree, I have been successful at this, but there simply is more garbage than people who care about what happens to it. At this point (soon to be nine years later) I’ve found that my own sense of aesthetics has changed greatly.  I’m from the old school that appreciates the narrative of art as it has developed with its various cultures, museums and landmark masterpieces.  Now, I feel that if we can’t develop (and soon) a more real sense of what is life-enhancing (namely the condition of the environment)…those other traditions won’t matter much.  Of course, there are other aspects of the formal art world that irk me as well and to see Edvard Munch’s fourth version of his “Scream” painting set a new world record into the millions of dollars makes me want to scream too.  Money is also a precious resource that should be used for better purposes.  Anyway, diatribe aside, here is my latest “mess-terpiece” for your delectation.  It continues the story from a recent post .  Enter the tire swing.

My little red-capped Styrofigure investigated the tree fort created near my outdoor atelier.  He visited his much larger relative who amazingly enough was still standing although his nose had fallen off!  It doesn’t look like the people who created this fort have returned recently.  Here is a photo from the family album.

After the visit, my newest figure did a little exploration of his own.  He came across a perplexing sight that made him scratch his head.

In a tangle of white fishing line was this image of futility.  How in the world, did this ball of monofilament snag a comb?  This seems the ultimate in entanglement.

Venturing to the water’s edge, my little Styrofigure found another large section of Styrofoam that was now beached.  For me, it was all becoming too much of this stuff on this day and my figure expresses this with a gesture of its arms.  “Why do we need even more of this material…is there nothing better for the intended purpose?”

Meanwhile…back in the river, the story continues.

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I remember how one drawing instructor I had at the university used to say that “…line does not exist in nature”.  I think about that statement every time I come across one of these tangles of fishing line.  They always catch my eye and on occasion I have photographed them.  It is true that line is a convention in drawing (one of the basic elements of art) used to symbolically translate a three-dimensional reality onto a two-dimensional surface.  Out here on the riverbank, the contour edges on fishing line are so close together that they become less abstract,  symbolic device as they merge and become line as object.

Fishing line comes in just about every color now.  I recently came upon this green line sort of informally gathered around these willow sprigs. In this picture,  I like the way the green compliments the reddish-brown of the trees and conveys an airy and lyrical feeling.  That’s also what I enjoy about “line” as a drawing element…it has the power to suggest emotion.

And now for a wad of red fishing line just thrown down upon the limestone bedrock.  Yes, if you are a fisherman, you are familiar with how “line” can convey emotion in the three-dimensional world.  Few things are as frustrating as having the line on your pole foul up or get snagged in a tree or an unseen obstruction underwater!  Still, it’s no excuse to discard your waste line so casually as though all of nature were your personal landfill.  Roll up what can’t be used and take it out of the park with you.

This has to be one of the champion examples of fisherman frustration at the Falls!  The discarded pack of cigarettes helps give it a needed sense of scale.  There is a lot going on in this tangle and includes a bit of frayed barge cable in addition to several types of monofilament.  This was photographed when the water was low and the roots of this tree were not hidden by the river.  Currents do play a part in helping to ensnare fishing line.  In this case, several lines have come together and coalesced into a mass.  You can say that this form has metastasized and will keep getting larger and become an even bigger fishing line trap.  If you could tease this thing apart and lay it down straight…I wonder how long it would be?

The other day I was working on images to use for my holiday cards.  One of the ideas I have been exploring involves these ornaments I have made with found, Falls of the Ohio junk.  I came across this tree hanging over the water that already had a few “decorations” on it and placed my ornament into this ready-made composition.  If you look closely, you can see there is just enough fishing line tangled up here to add a subtle sense of movement.

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