I drove through parts of Yellowstone a week ago, just a day after the Park (as it’s known locally) opened to automobiles. (I had been hoping to bike in the car-free weeks before that, as I normally do, but the weather was uncooperative.) Despite my regular visits, and posts to this blog, I realized I’ve never shown any photographs of the thermal features for which Yellowstone is justly famous. I have made a few before—surprisingly few—but somehow they never appealed much to me. For some reason I can’t put my finger on, this time felt different, and there are several images I’m willing to publish.
Whiskey Island, during Prohibition, was a dropping-off point for bootleg from Canada. Those glory days well in the past, the Island, in its backwaters, now tends to collect floating debris. I took this shot over the weekend.
Some time ago, as part of a dialogue with Steve concerning waterfalls, I had reworked an image of a shallow stream stepping over a flat and rocky bed. In touching up the visual I had entered a mild state of flow in which I was aware of my surroundings, but so deeply engrossed in an emerging pattern of alterations that it seemed I was mapping my own mental landscape. Here again I encountered something similar. Time seemed to go away and I lifted my eyes from the screen to find it well past my bedtime. It was a lovely floating experience.
Do you lose track of time when engrossed in your work?
After being confronted by my husband about the amount of spending on my personal obsessions I decided to share my own extravaganzas: scarves and crystals.
They are all over the house and I collect them incessantly… almost ritually and impulsively. They make me feel good, inspire me and are so irresistible to me! So I am showing just some of them from my collection here.
While words such as “excessive” or “obsessive” might sometimes be used to describe persons with psychological or emotional issues, John Pomara, artist and assistant professor for Arts & Performance, thinks these qualities can be good – for artists.
As Steve noted not long ago, perception — how, as well as what, we see and record — is prime territory for this group. Some weeks ago I wrote about painting in the desert, the Great Basin to be more precise, and, even more specifically, the Amargosa Plain just outside of Death Valley.
Fox has spent most of his life in and around a variety of deserts and back-of-nowhere lands, but in The Void he’s primarily concerned with the Great Basin, that large space between the Rockies and the Sierras, where water flows in, but never out, where there is no river coursing to the sea. He says that outside of Afghanistan, this area contains the most mountain ranges (316) in the world, but there are also 90 basins, places where what little water exists is captured between ranges and sinks or evaporates. The best known of these basins is perhaps Death Valley, although that lies outside Fox’s attention. The place I was painting, the Amargosa Plain, is also just outside his wide-ranging travels. However, much of what he says is apropos of the Amargosa and Death Valley.
Here’s conceptual art you gotta love. Or maybe it’s sociology with an artist’s flair. This is the concept from art student Kacie Kinzer:
In New York, we are very occupied with getting from one place to another. I wondered: could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots.
Her “robots” are simple wind-up toys with a sign on a pole. They don’t fit the usual definition of being able to respond to their environment. But their environment—particularly the human environment—can surely respond to them. New Yorkers defied all the unfair stereotypes by helping the tweenbot on its mission to cross Washington Park: