Monday, February 29, 2016

NOLA Stairs

Here are a few of the pieces I made in New Orleans with photographs I took there. There's something too bare about a photograph, as though additional life needs to be injected into it. That happens here with found materials.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


We're back from New Orleans, where in addition to making a garden in our daughter's backyard (in the second week of January! -- the snap peas were starting to climb by the time we left on February 19...), I installed a studio for myself in a kitchen cabinet. I didn't realize how hard it would be to be without my tools and studio (even though my daughter has great tools, they weren't always the ones I am used to working with).

I made, as planned, some photographs of stairs, which I will be using in the coming months, but my major piece was one called Nesting. I scavenged some cypress wood from a dumpster a few blocks over (work is still ongoing to try to repair damage caused by Hurricane Katrina) and, after trying to remove the nails and metal with a hammer and rip and cut it using a circular saw, I gave up and found a young man named Roland to cut and join the wood to make a skeletal house, to which I added the small houses on each side, cut from the same wood.

The house is 24"H x 16"W x 16"D, and it sits up on 4 foot pipe legs. I have proposed it for an exhibit called Anarchitecture at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans and, if accepted, I will make a 20 x 20" steel base for it to sit on.

I said in my statement:  
The work in my current series uses an iconic "house" motif to explore issues of displacement, appropriation of resources, and impermanence. All humans build and occupy structures, and this necessarily involves the displacement of other living things (whether plants, animals, or other humans). However, each individual person has a limited lifetime, so there is succession, as these structures pass to a next generation of ownership, to new occupiers, or are destroyed deliberately or  by misadventure. The pieces in this grouping are all made with materials from that process of destruction or disaggregation, each part bringing with it a former life....Nesting, was created in New Orleans in January and February of 2016. I salvaged cypress boards from a dumpster in Mid-City to create a skeletal house, with streetscapes on four sides. Nestled in the attic are white houses, suggesting eggs or ghosts (precursors or successors).

I took some photos at a neighbor's house, where I used their digital projector to create light from a white screen, but it clearly had other colors in the projected pixels, and this cool image was the result!