One of my preoccupations in painting inhabited space is to see how people perceive and decorate their surrounds. In cities, it seems to me, conformity sometimes rules — or perhaps there’s too much unconformity to make sense of a singular type of decorative decorum. Whatever the case, I find that peering at small towns and villages gives me a certain kind of data; both individually and collectively, people seem to want to dress up, decorate, make order of what lies around them. And in places with few people, it’s possible to suss out what that decorative impulse consists of.

A particular caution that I remind myself of — looking at what people do to dress up their trailer houses requires a disciplined mind. My goal is to neither romanticize nor to satirize. I allow myself no irony about individual choices, although lots of irony can abound when examining communal structures (like bridges and mine tailings). What I want is to see what’s there without indulging in judgment.

So what is the predominate beautification element of Beatty Nevada ( 220 miles south of Reno, 110 miles north of Las Vegas, population 1200, where the Amargosa River surfaces, just for a minute, before being swallowed by the Amargosa desert [a subset of the Mojave desert])?

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