Environmental Arts Mentoring Seven:
This week began with quick warm up portraits, followed by a wander into an odd landscape in which we built a fort. full of rabbits, this little hillock is hidden from view by a pile of construction debris. Such an odd mixture of tree of heaven, resprouted stumps of manitoba maple from the culling of the hill in 2010, and pieces of broken elm pinning down grapevine in arbors. Bricks of all variety, from a century of experimentation, litter the thawing ground, and as we throw some horizontals between crotches in trees, a loose woven wall constructs the idea of shelter.
Near the end we set out to make our first, of many, public works….a portrait of burdock. So beautiful how different the three drawings are, mixed together in chalk on the wall, fading out as the spring rains come….
huh, i just remembered that Glen passed on a film of russian teens hearing songs and stories with first nations youth at the interpretive center (i will edit and upload the film next month). The project has grown to include these kinds of healthy cross cultural sharing ceremonies, and it feels very much like a spiritual center, or pilgrimage site, for my work in toronto, running strong in an oddly normal small town in bc.
mr.zigler released to us the following statement: AN INSTALLATION FROM A GROUP SHOW AT THE STROUD HOUSE GALLERY, IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UK, ENTITLED “THE FARM.” THIS WORK WAS PLAYFULLY CREATED WITH THE CONTRAST OF A STRUCTURE FOR FARM ANIMALS WHICH IS AT ONCE A SHELTER AND A PRISON, BOTH A COMFORT AND DOMESTICATION.
INSIDE THE SHELTER, HAND BUILD WITH AN ODD MIXTURE OF LABOR INTENSIVE NATURAL MATERIALS AND THOSE FROM A LOCAL FARM, IS CONTAINED A LAYER OF HAY IN WHICH THERE IS THE IMPRINT OF A HUMAN BODY. THE ROOM IN WHICH IT IS INSTALLED IN COMPLETELY FREE FROM ARTIFICIAL LIGHT, ONLY THE SMALLEST AMOUNT TRICKLING IN FROM THE ADJACENT ROOMS. AS YOUR EYES ADJUST TO THE LIGHT, DETAILS BECOME SUBTLY AND DISTURBINGLY CLEAR.
we have it on good faith that in the building of this project mr. zigler was delivered at the space with a wealth of wet, muddy materials, with little concept ofwhat he was seeking to achieve, and through the course of four days and nights, build this installation. a focus on the creativity of the process, rather than a measured goal oriented design. the hay and all the materials went back into the farm. the wood for charcoal burning. the hay for bedding (although usually it would be used for feed).
an odd thing happened to this shelter when brought into the climate of the indoor gallery space. allof a sudden, the bark which was layered on the roof to keep out the rain shriveled and dried up, while when it was on the shelter that mr. zigler had build outside it somewhat served the function because of the constant english rain. all of the materials became brittle, not like the decay of the forest, all rot and dinner for a host of creatures, but the decomposition of the desert, becoming like bones which then would blow away as dust.a healthy experience, and one which signposted which direction was the most appropriate.
the gallery charged a fee to exhibit there for three weeks. another way to capitalize, or less negatively to make a living off the creativity of others, and one which this work did not fit within, seeing that few people would seek to buy such a shelter. regardless of its monetary worth within the context of a commercial gallery space, it truly had a firm opinion concerning the theme of this group show, the farm, but instead of selling this point of view in a package which makes it easier to consume, it offered a communal meal, where each viewer would have to work to take what they could. this is not being negative towards commercial art, only identifying the distance that this shelter was from it.