Friday, July 1, 2011

Final days @ Verbier 3D

The final days were a blast of energy and fun. The finished works went up the mountain with huge efforts by many folks. We had several long days working around holiday schedules and the unpredictability of media, weight and just the complexity of each installation. My work and Donna’s were done with good timing, but Donna and I each had a final afternoon on the mountain getting grass arranged, soil raked, paint touchups done. Saturday the 25th we were up on the mountain until late in the afternoon, applying finishing touches and getting through final video interviews. We then came back to the tent to build our final sculpture.

Together we built a sapling Ibex, the mighty mountain goat of the high Alps. Our structure was covered with a layer of straw and soaked with oils. We set our Ibex in place on a steel mountain I had fabricated and then dressed for the evening’s party. It was a well ordered affair with a lovely VIP cocktail, the usual introductions and goodbyes (in both French and English), a painting competition (Art Battles), fire dancers, and lots of great music. As the evening scrolled to a close we ignited our sculpture. It went alight with magnificence. It was a GRAND close to our fine time in Verbier.

The after party went past our dropping time but we danced for hours before calling it a day well spent.

Sunday we all gathered for a walk through of the high mountain site at 2pm. We rode up the lift and then walked along the road between the end of the lift and the restaurant where Donna’s piece is so well featured out the main dining room windows. It was a great time for us all to talk and share the experience. Many impressions of the work were shared. Several of our new friends joined us for these two final events. Donna and I have several standing invitations for places to stay when we are next in Verbier!

By four, most the artists and guests headed down the mountain, but Donna and I faced the clearest day we had yet seen in the high mountains, so up we scampered. For the next two hours we hiked into the alps, following a trekking trail to the first of the mountain lodges. By the evening barbecue, both of us were sore and exhausted - spent but smiling. It was glorious!

The final meal was full of goodbyes. We all regretted the end of this unique and lovely adventure. Donna and I left as the sun set, walking the last two miles down the mountain to our hotel to pack. 7:30 lift off for Venice!



When a tree is wind beaten to the extremes of uprooting, it is a trauma that leaves a scar beyond the individual that is toppled. When a forest titan is blown over and the earth is torn by the tenacity of roots, even boulders can be hoisted aloft. These excavated stones leave an impression, the uplifted roots draw a shape, the remnant hollow becomes a shelter.

Man has marked this earth deeply. We are well rooted.

I am unsure how as an artist, I can respond to the extremes of the Alps. My work is not a triumph over adversity. It is a personal story. I am recording my presence. In the fragile state of today's world I am determined to draw with a mark that lasts. In this Residency I aim to leave a significant trace.

UPENDED (a ghost print) 2011

When a printmaker places a second damp page on the plate without pausing to re-ink, a ghost print is produced. UPENDED is a retelling of UPROOTED. Like a ghost print, much of the mass is gone. The impression is skeletal, but structure is evident. In a second pressing, only the deepest image remains.

UPENDED works well in all seasons but was designed for the brilliance of the mountain terrain. Fog and clouds isolate the linear design and suspend the stones in vapor. Sun on snow creates a stark shadow reflection. The image will be doubled, compressed, stretched as the sun angle changes throughout the day.

The steel rod has been bent and shaped into layers that lack geometry but that evoke volume - much as a brush patch occupies a distinct physical space with abundant disorder.

UPENDED implies both geologic and organic events. The stones reference authentic shape and colors while revealing a hand-made sensibility. They invite trust in their materiality as boulders, but show a painterliness, brushstrokes and surfaces that are distinctly created. Splash, drip and color confound believability. That was my goal for these still-life rocks.

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