Posts Tagged ‘soul searching’

Looking up at me with that reassuring smile, I thought it a good omen on my first foray of the new year.  It’s winter and so it’s cold, but the sun is bright and clear and strong shadows are everywhere.  I’m bundled up and so it’s okay as I venture forth along my spot on the Ohio River.

Today the landscape and it’s living inhabitants are asleep or away.  I see only a few seagulls and ducks along the river and that’s all.  With the leaves now fallen, the polystyrene sculptures that mark my studio area are more visible.  The very bright whiteness of the Styrofoam can be seen from a distance and it helps these pieces are vertical elements too.  This contrasts sharply with Spring and Summer where you could walk within fifteen yards of this spot and not see these figures for the trees.

The “choir” is still all here, which is what I expected.  People are fair weather animals and when it’s cold, fewer are willing to explore this landscape on foot.  I admit to liking the existential “feeling” I perceive on these winter walks.  There is a clarity that I appreciate not only in the light, but within my mind too.  Winter does a good job with its cold in prioritizing things and the relative lack of sound makes it easier to hear my own thoughts. 

My found materials are as I left them at my open air studio.  I decide to sit on the plank (a little cool on the buns!) and make my first figure or 2011.

Looking around I pick up two smallish pieces of Styrofoam and constructed this delicate figure.  Here he is before the addition of found glass ears.  The mouth is also glass and I like how the river and sand polish this material as it grinds away the sharp edges.  Once completed, I look for an interesting backdrop to create the images that represent this day.

I featured this on a late post from last year.  I’m fascinated by this frayed barge rope or cable that has been snagged by this willow tree.  I like how it is slowly unraveling and the bright orange nylon? fibers add that unnaturalistic element that seems so out-of-place in this environment. 

As I move this little figure around this orange fiber outburst I wonder if the beauty I’m perceiving from the color is somehow out-of-place and perverse?  I begin the year wondering if what I’m also doing out here is aestheticizing garbage as much as I am calling attention to our relationship with nature?  In my defense, I tell myself that I’m just an artist doing what artists have always done…which is react to materials and processes and selectively ordering things in the ways that artists do.  What do you think?

When I last saw this frayed cable, it was helping to form this interesting drift that was a combination of wind, snow, sand, and ice.  I posed a different figure around that formation.  Now all the snow is gone for the moment, but surely we will receive more before season’s end.  Oh, I forgot about the small shoe sole that I tied onto my figure.  Since it came from a child’s shoe…it is meant loosely to be an attribute of innocence.  I have done this with other figures in the past.

When I could no longer push the cold out of my mind and finger tips, I decided to leave this figure by its orange curtain.  I moved him into a position that suggests he’s taking shelter from the elements.  On my next outing to the Falls, I will stop by and see how he’s doing…that is if he’s still out here and hasn’t walked away.

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