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Posts Tagged ‘site-specific sculpture’

I was taken a bit off guard on this visit to the Falls of the Ohio by a rising Ohio River.  While we have not received much precipitation recently, the same can’t be said for the parts of the Ohio River Valley north of here.  When I showed up on this visit much of the accessible riverbank was already underwater.  Here at the Falls the river level is regulated by a system of tainter gates and dams that helps ensure a steady water level for commercial barge traffic at the McAlpin Locks.  It is a curious notion to think how much of this environment is managed for the benefit of man.  Water is also released under these gates to help manage flooding along the length of the river and the land it passes through.

While walking the receding shoreline, I came across the remains of the larger recent figure I had set up in the tall grass.  The river had already captured and changed it.  I did find some new materials to make something with and this is the figure that resulted.  I have no doubt that it too is now gone.  I may find parts of it again once the river recedes.

He’s not the most attractive figure to say the least, but he’s what I had to work with on this day.  At first, I positioned him by some other objects that had washed into here during the spring floods.  As is my habit, I also moved him around to other locations that increasingly were being encroached upon by the rising river which was sending wave after wave crashing against the sandy beach.  Here are a few images of where I eventually left this figure to its fate.

The sky had this interesting quality to it.  Although it was still warm, the light conditions evoked a colder landscape.  I nearly expected to see a flock of Sandhill Cranes to pass by high above me in their characteristic “V-shaped flight pattern.  Since the day was proving to be less promising than anticipated…I decided to cut my day here short and move on to other concerns.  I left my latest figure on the log where it waved its good byes to the city on the opposite bank of the river.

All and all it was a rather melancholy day.  There are times I think I’m going to  be able to do more than I actually accomplish, but on this day the river was calling the tune.  I wonder how high the river will eventually get?

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Louisville cityscape from the Falls, 6/08

Since I was feeling a little nostalgic about lost trees, I checked into my archive and pulled up these images from late June of last year.  In the above photo, the tree in the right foreground fell during the last few months.  This view with a glimpse of the skyline of Louisville on the opposite shore was made from the park’s western boundry.

Black Jack, 6/08

I called this figure “Black Jack” when I made it.  It didn’t last long in this configuration.  Although this section of the park is more remote…”Black Jack” was found and assaulted by someone who needed to break something.  I wonder sometimes if there might be a balance between the amount of energy it takes to create and the effort required to destroy?  It would be some type of karmic equation.  Yes, this wasn’t the best piece I ever made, but it did have some points of interest.  I believe this was the only time I ever came across black polystyrene and in this case I believe it was once part of a car’s bumper.  I also found the little stearing wheel and the broken baseball batter’s helmet along the same stretch of beach.  Tires can be found everywhere and in this piece, made a nice base.  The head is a battered Styrofoam form for styling wigs.

Black Jack in situ, 6/08

I left this sculpture parked by this wonderful cottonwood tree that has incredible roots.  Over the years, the elements have eroded the bank exposing the roots without killing the tree.  In this case, you can literally sit under the tree in this unique space and stay dry during the heaviest rainstorm.  From the fire pits around this area it is obviously a favorite place for campers, fishermen, and lovers.  The candy cane hanging on the tree is something else I found that day.  It is a hand-painted Christmas decoration on wood and I added it to my growing collection of river junk I hauled home.  This styro-sculpture had a buoy-like quality to it that appealed to me and nicely marked the day. 

Herons at the Falls, 6/08

Across from where I sited my sculpture is an area of exposed fossil rock that touches the water.  It is a favorite place for herons to do their fishing and a nice image taken the same day to end this post.

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Thirsty for Green, 2009

Using two very eroded pieces of Styrofoam, driftwood, hickory and walnuts, and plastic I created this figure in a cache of plastic green bottles.  Just another example of conspicuous consumption found in the context of nature. 

Thirsty for Green, side view

Here’s a side view.  The sad part is this wasn’t all the plastic bottles (much less the green ones) found in the immediate area of this figure.  Yes, there are river clean-ups several times a year, but with normal high water “fresh” material is deposited.  You just can’t get it all.   People please dispose of your garbage properly!

Thirsty for Green, alternate view

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