I spent Monday delivering and assisting in the hanging of my exhibition at the Margaret Harwell Art Museum, which opens this Saturday in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. I delivered roughly fifty paintings and will round-out the show this Friday, when I deliver and install the final three works, including two 70” tall oils and a six-foot-by-four-foot folding rice-paper screen. I had not had the opportunity to help in the hanging of my own show in a couple years and I found that my involvement in the process was nearly as invigorating as creating the works, themselves.
Today, I woke early to handle chores that have been overlooked for the past few months and found that the morning had been christened by the season’s first heavy frost. Freeze may be a better a description, as my deck and the path which constitute a short trek to the studio were completely frozen, with grass breaking crisply under each step. The moon was still in full wonder and I found myself trapped by its gaze. There are few locales that offer as much of an opportunity to experience natural originality as the moon or Luna as my children call it (due to their early indoctrination on “Bear in the Big Blue House”). There are certainly changes to the physical landscape… space garbage, if you will, from various moonshots. Though few have actually set foot on the moon, we have all left our slight footprint on the surface. Luckily, from this distance, we’re able to ignore the signs of imperialism and lunar landers and simply view the rock as our ancestors saw it.
My work over the past few years has searched for that same premise in the American west. While it is easier to imagine an open unoccupied territory in Wyoming or central Washington than say Ohio… the perfect illusion of naturalistic virginity is none-the-less gone from all of the places that one could visit. Then again who is to say that type of virginity ever existed? How much of the term “virginal” means abstinence and how much just describes any person, place or situation that has not been over-manipulated? - DN