Posts Tagged ‘river art’

The One-eyed Blue-tongued Devil at the Falls of the Ohio

The river is rising as I write this.  Just the other day…we had a storm that just sat on us and poured down a massive quantity of water.  This is to my count, the fourth time this year that we have experienced high water on the Ohio River.  Fortunately, none of them have been true floods on the big river.  All the art projects and the materials I have collected and cached at my various sites this year are gone or in different locations within the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  Having the time and opportunity to access the life at the Falls is a still a big priority for me, but the river and weather don’t always cooperate.

One-eyed Blue-tongued Devil with Blue Ball

I’m out here as often as I can get away and since time is usually limited…I work quickly forming plans for projects as I take advantage of what that day presents.  A typical visit starts off first with a walk checking out what’s new in the area for potential materials and sites for projects.  I’m also looking for new birds, what fish the fishermen are having success with, any new flowering plants and the insects they may attract.  Because of the river, the areas I frequent are dynamic and change frequently which is a big part of the attraction.  After making the rounds, I will return to one of my outdoor studio sites where I store materials for later use or to take home with me at the end of the day.  If there is one change in my creative process over the past year, it is on relying on my home work space more to get things done.

Petrochemical Rainbow in progress in my home studio.

Work in progress, late January 2017

And, as you can see by these especially well-curated and selectively chosen images, there’s also plenty to work with here!  If the river was to evaporate away tomorrow…I will be in good shape for a while as far as materials go.  Drinking water and taking a hot shower, however, may be another story.  Since I participated in a recent two person exhibition that I haven’t mentioned yet, this looks like a good opportunity to share something about that.

Post card invitation for Cross Currents exhibition, Feb. 2017

My friends David McGuire and Karen Welch formed Craft(s) Gallery and Mercantile in Louisville to help promote the work and sale of Kentucky’s creative people.  I accepted their invitation to show with Mack Dryden who is another Falls of the Ohio enthusiast who also happens to be a professional comedian. Mack likes to collect the driftwood that he finds and makes more formal compositions with them.  We decided to title our exhibition “Cross Currents…” since while we appreciate nature and what the river gives us…our approaches to art making are different.  Here are a few installation shots from this show.

Taking my "Foamies" to market, late January 2017

I threw this picture in here because this is something most people don’t see or consider…how an artist gets their work from one place to the next.  Fortunately for me, most of the shows I participate in are within a day’s drive of Louisville.  In this case, I’m just going across town.  Shipping can get problematic and costly.  Ironically, since most of my Styrofoam projects don’t weigh anything…they do however, take up “dimensional space” meaning I’m charged for how much room my box occupies on the truck or cargo jet regardless of the weight.  As  you can see, I’m rather careless with my own work with minimal or nonexistent packaging.  I think there is something about knowing where my materials come from that causes me to be casual and not at all precious about what happens to my projects.  I still leave a lot of stuff behind at the river.

Cross Currents exhibition, Crafts and Mercantile Gallery, Louisville, KY, Feb. 2017

Cross Currents installation view, Craft(s) Gallery and Mercantile, Louisville, KY, Feb. 2017

Installation view of Cross Currents exhibition, Craft(s) Gallery and Mercantile, Lousiville, KY, Feb. 2017

Our exhibition was up for the month of February and was well received.  I brought projects that hadn’t been seen in Louisville before including some new colorful, plastic bottle pieces I had been working on during 2016.  My bird sculptures also did well and they seem to be many people’s favorite works by me.  I also included new dye sublimation prints on aluminum that I had made of river works that no longer exist. Most of my Falls projects after all these years of doing this project remain preserved as images only.Styrofigure with found, plastic battery operated car, Falls of the Ohio 2017

Relatively speaking this has been a warm spring and delightful when it wasn’t pouring buckets of rain on occasions.  When the opportunity presented itself…I started several new series of works taking advantage of and calling attention to the many other materials that I find in the park.  I look forward to sharing them with you and hopefully…I won’t let so much time go by.  Until then….

One-eyed, Blue-tongued Devil holding a white bottle, Falls of the Ohio, Feb. 2017



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My Foaming Brain, 5/09

May is just about history.  Despite a wet beginning, rallied to become a rose of a month.  I was outside as much as I could get away to make art and watch nature.  In retrospect, I did make quite a few objects and images that having this blog helped boost along.  My latest river figure I’ve entitled “My Foaming Brain” is as much a reflection of what’s going on inside my head as it is a document of what I’m finding at this place along the Ohio River.  I haven’t decided yet whether the foam is entering or leaving this figure’s head.  I’ll leave that open for you to decide.

tree on wier dam, 5/09

Remains of the “mini-flood” are evident all around.  Here’s a tree washed away from the riverbank just hanging on the wier dam in the eastern part of the park.  Once the river level drops, many logs and other debris become stranded on the top of the wall.  And, there they will stay until the next high water lifts them off.  Meanwhile, all manner of other river carried flotsam and jetsam is building up behind the wall like barbarians at the gate.

Cracking mud, 5/09

Don’t let the cracks deceive you…this mud is very much wet.  If you step on it… you will sink to your ankles!  My Falls shoes are now a complete ruin because of this mud’s sole-sucking quality.  I wear my most beat up clothing when I come out here and I’m sure that more than one visitor must have thought I was a homeless person living by the river.  I have come across signs in the mud where I can tell that a person’s feet were gripped so hard that they fell forward and left hand prints as well.

The Exhibit, 5/09

I believe this ties a record for me.  There are five figures sitting on informal exhibition in the park that haven’t been disturbed.  Usually, my pieces get discovered, taken or destroyed.  All of them have been featured in this month’s blog.  I did, however, keep the birds I made.  This weekend, there are several river sweeps and clean-ups going on ( some involving friends from the Living Lands and Rivers crew) and it should be interesting to see if these sculptures survive.  Will they be considered trash or treasure?  I think of what I do here as a form of “repackaging”…it goes along with those other “r-words”…reuse, recycle, rethink, rebuild, rebound, re-etc……..

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sign fragment detail

Just posted another in a series of river collections I have made at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  This series can be seen in my Pages section.  The image above is a detail from one of the found signs.  What man created, nature altered.  There is a very contemporary feel to these lucky finds.

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