Lawn, House, and Quicksand as Defined by the Shrubbery

1998, papers, hobby grass, wire, string, ink, gouache, goo, 77 x 96 x 3 inches. On floor. 

  • My quest for the secret place I never found: Grandma and I searched down the driveway and in the woods for Unga’s house which never revealed itself.  We played “The Boys and Mr. Bradford” in the little woods, next to the stump, so we could see the path, but no one could see us.  Danny made an A-frame house that I used for my play mice.  They had a country store with lots of goods to buy.  My grandmother and I made a doll from curtain and wood and hay, but it wasn’t as good as Zayres.  No matter,  my “Baby That-a-Way” is gone and my angel I made with Grandma still hangs on the wall.   In all these ways I searched.  In the attic where I played and looked.  In its darkness and corners were always a discovery of something new with something that I knew already.  I searched for something inexplicable. Now its space, its light,  its dark, its colours, and its smell is lodged deep within my psyche.   In my artistic investigation, I see logically that I cannot recreate a space, musings of my mind, or unfulfilled desire.  Although I know that I cannot and never could posses the swaying space between the winter trees, cannot have the possession of Grandma’s house no matter how well I know every corner and every smell, the expression of the intangible is still my quest.  I still see things with my childhood mind. As I have become an adult, I am learning to marry that inexpressible vision of the world with practicality by using conceptuality.  It makes the work kind of silly, but it is readable in that way to normal people if they care.
  • I had a slew of bad photographs that I had taken to try to document every inch of my grandparents place before we let it go.  Many were terrible, but had significance to me, because I understood and felt that place in that way.  I realized that I could use them in a different way.  I cut the shrubbery out of the photographs.  Then I sewed them all together, mapping as if from above, the way it was to me. Then I created the lawns with hobby grass which are luxurious expanses defined by the shrubbery.  The quicksand is my own personal concoction, the house is outlined in blue paper, the color of blue print.   All these are interconnected, formed initially by the shrubbery.  These are the shapes from above.   You’re as a high as a kite or as big as a person compared to an ant looking down.  Now it’s different.  Invaded by alien owners.