Walking down out of mountains adjacent to a desert plain, the traveler sees a large formation rising out of the broad flatness below. The formation appears to be an estranged aspect of the mountain range itself; perhaps worn apart by erosion. Or possibly yet, it is the alluvial deposit at the bottom of a submarine canyon before the whole area was lifted far above sea level. When the traveler first sees this mount on the plain, it is morning. Raking light defines the eastern face of this prominence, etching the profile in the walker’s imagination, while the rest of it remains in dark obscurity. A small community of houses far beyond begin to glint and warble as the desert sheds the coolness of morning. The mountain range in the great distance is merely a stopgap truncating the horizon. The traveler’s path begins to change direction and now he finds himself moving along in a direction that will not intersect the formation but rather circumnavigate it at a some remove. By midday, the traveler has reached the bottom of the range and the mount sits to the east now. Whereas before, from the north, it had a gently skirted shaped, quite symmetrical, he now notices that the south face is all an escarpment. Debris from the fallen ramparts spew off across the bajada; the definition of all that is painstaking in the noon time sun. In the distance just to the west, the hiker sees a copse of mesquite in which to slightly shelter from the sun. Turning to make his way towards the trees, the traveler remarks out loud to no one in particular how different the mount appeared from when he first gazed upon to when he turned away from it. The sound of his voice was immediately swallowed by the expanse, unequal to the push of the heat.
Parallax is the idea that an object viewed from multiple locations can appear different from each perspective. I like to think that applies to not just geography but also events in time or perceptions versus reality.
I decided that I wanted the majority of this show to be made from materials I recycled from Fun. No Fun, an installation that I was part of creating with fellow artists Dawn Cerny, David Lipe and Dan Webb at the Henry Art Gallery in 2017. We were asked to transform the south gallery of the museum; addressing both the space itself as well as the idea of the institution's place in society. The materials I speak of are those used in the normal course of construction; materials such as Douglas Fir framing lumber and CDX plywood. We chose these materials for our show at the Henry not only because of their economy, but also because their connotation as everyday lent to the sense of urgency or pragmatism that we inhabit so naturally in our lives. I use them in Parallax as something of a filter through which to reflect upon thoughts and ideas that rose to the surface throughout the making of Fun.No Fun. Ideas about manipulation of space, art's place in society and within the institution, politics, democracy, civics, outrage, curation, culture, personality, collaboration, personal lives, the struggle to make a living, parenting, civilization versus wildness, wilderness versus development, construction techniques, craft versus deskilling, materiality, physicality and scale, to name more than a few.
Construction grade wood is a material I work with in my everyday job as a carpenter and not one that I gravitate towards in my studio work. It has many irregularities and defects that become troublesome and lend their own influence over a concept. While I did attempt to select for as few knots as possible, I made no attempt to eliminate them. Nor did I try to hide holes where fasteners had attached the structure of the installation together. Some of these holes needed to be filled with epoxy for structural purposes, but I wish for the viewer to reflect upon how the materials were first used to interpret and transform a large space; materials used to convey potentialities for successes and failures. And then to think of them in their current iteration of reduced scale and altered concept; a concurrent magnifying glass and megaphone for ideas born in collaboration and much that has transpired in life since. The parallax of then and now as well as materially and figuratively.