This one is titled Required Reading.
Here are the one-day installations that happened at Ragdale on Sunday. It was a great time: so good to see old friends, meet new folks, learn more about some excellent work, and share excitement over new plans together with poignant stories of Ragdale’s past. For me it was also an opportunity (as was St. Louis) to try some new things, as well as just a huge boost, feeling a bit of what is in store: my fast-upcoming lovely long residency.
Two shots of its interior. I may be doing more with this…
Overall, I’m pleased with how these outdoor works are developing. The pull in this direction has been strong. Though I’ve heard (and read) the term ‘interventions’ quite a bit, always in a ‘good’ context, I’m not convinced that’s what they are. To me, interventions are works that recontextualize what is available at the site: think Andy Goldsworthy. I suppose these do that in some ways, but in a long, long loop of using often imported plant materials; when they are left to decay, they bring in very little that is unusual to the sites, contributing mostly more cellulose to the soil. But when new and still fully formed, they are definitely, intentionally foreign within the site, gentle intrusions. I like them best when there are no labels, when they simply appear without fanfare. Perhaps they’re better termed ‘apparitions’.
This piece was originally made to be part of a series, titled Mirror-Touch, to be installed in St. Louis. I abandoned it for the last post’s lichen reprisal piece when the necessary installation method came into question. With Ragdale’s solid cooperation, I tried it out here. It will likely go further, soon.
Below are two of several works by Margot McMahon, who had a fascinating story to tell of her early interactions with Sylvia Shaw Judson at Ragdale, well before it became a residency program; that influence is so readily apparent in these works.
There was also a sound installation by Shawn Decker, some of which was recorded on the prairie, and a reading by Dan Vera, who was in residence. (I had met him last week while gathering my bundle of milkweed). And the conference room was filled with wonderful work by Jane Fulton Alt, including photos, encaustic works, and two beautiful books (one published commercially, and another fantastically effective handbound collaboration with Teresa Pankratz). All the work was based on the annual controlled prairie burns; and a video was continuously showing above the conference room fireplace. All the works had such a direct connection to this place, showing its enormous influence.
I also brought That’s Life back home; it was created here. During my brief talk, I forgot to also point out a piece that Alice bought to be permanently displayed at Ragdale, which lives just a few steps away.
Alas, the substitute camera I’ve been using gave up the ghost just after I shot Margot’s works; it took a great deal of sheer stubbornness to later extract these photos. I ordered a new one yesterday!
And that was the last of the 2013’s public tasks until ZIA’s group show opening in November. I’m breathing in, sleeping more, and planning harvests and new experiments: five weeks of bliss ensue soon!