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At the Lamar Dodd Art Center, LaGrange College

By admin on September 15, 2013

photo-116Opening soon, look away - a look back at 15 years of work at the Lamar Dodd Art Center of Lagrange College.

Thanks to John Lawrence, Tim Taunton, Michael Murrell and Michael Turner for their invaluable patience and know-how in helping get this installation afloat.

leave the roots on…a sad goodbye to the trees on my farm

By admin on April 15, 2013

…whatever you have to say, leave/the roots on, let them/dangle

And the dirt/just to make clear/ where they came from.

Charles Olson, These Days

Fables of the EcoFuture at the Weave Shed Gallery

By admin on April 15, 2013

 

 

 

Installing at the Weave Shed Gallery, Hambidge Center for the Arts for Fables of the EcoFuture, a group show of Hambidge Fellows curated by Lisa Alembik. March 30-June 8, 2013

the calm after the storm

By admin on October 30, 2012

there is a sense of melancholy today in the grey aftermath of the storm. the anticipated event is over. the clean up has begun. businesses and restaurants are still closed, but on the upper west side we are all high and dry and so much more fortunate than most.

we walked out of our apartment this morning and entered a movie set. everything seemed hushed. columbus avenue had ceded its bustle to pedestrians. cue the old couple, arm in arm crossing the street. cue the young family, one puffy coat bundled child in tow, another in a stroller. cue the joggers escaping cabin fever, the dogs pulling their owners down the street. the light was off somehow. yellow leaves that had muted much of the light just yesterday now carpeted the narrow streets

we walked for blocks and blocks to see the damage from the winds we had heard in the night. the howl was unlike anything i have ever heard- shrill, insistent, plaintive, constricted. every other storm i have experienced announced itself from far away, but here in new york city the dense architecture created a maze for the winds.

as it turns out, i think we were walking home from dinner in some of the worst of the wind last night, but it got so much worse for so many after that.

Sandy’s announcing herself!

By admin on October 29, 2012

We spent the late morning walking the neighborhood. Gusty winds that made our umbrellas useless, sporadic blowing rain, rivers of bright yellow leaves along the curbs and lots of dogs in raincoats. Central Park is closed and looks forlorn.Almost all of the stores along Amstersdam and Columbus are closed, many are boarded up. A few eateries are open with lively patrons inside, a sense of excitement in the air. Taxis only on the streets and avenues. No subway. No buses. 

All day we enjoyed being out on the streets even if we were soaked to the bone by the blowing rain. It was a day not unlike any other bad weather day until tonight. Tonight winds really picked up and became something we reckoned with as we hurried to dinner. We dined on Amsterdam Avenue at one of the few restaurants open and from our table by the window watched sheets of rain blow horizontally down the avenue. Paper bags flew by at treetop level, the few walkers still out were ushered down the sidewalk with gusts at their backs, and car after car of NYPD filed up the street in a hurry somewhere. Inside we were grateful for power, good food and wine on this remarkable night , for the people who had stayed on the job so we could have a great dinner – and for each other.

As we walked back to our apartment, Anna and I stood in the middle of an empty Amsterdam Avenue at only 9:00 in the evening.

 

 

Waiting on Sandy in NYC

By admin on October 29, 2012

Anna and I began our grey Sunday morning in the City with a visit to the Whitney to experience ‘Fireflies’- the expansive creation of Yayoi Kusama- on its last day at the museum. We were second and third in line. Each viewer enters a narrow, guard-opened door and and is left alone when it closes in an infinity of  water, lights and mirrors.One minute later the door is opened and you are pulled back to the present. Your moment is up; another steps in after you.

It was fleeting and profound, like life itself.

 

We walked through Central Park on a cool, soft, breezy morning. The park is now closed in anticipation of tree-toppling winds.  (Central Park closed…?) Subways are closed. Storefronts and restaurants are dark as workers were sent home on the last ride out of town at 7:00 tonight. Cabs move freely up eerily empty streets. The wind is picking up and swishing the trees around outside the apartment, but the rain has not yet arrived.

New Yorkers tonight seem equal parts cautious and festive.The streets of the Upper West side of Manhattan are quiet. Halloween decorations seem left behind from some other time.

I look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.

 

Groundstory Readings and Artists’ Talks

By admin on October 24, 2012

Groundstory Readings and Artists’ Talks

Please come!  Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College on Saturday, November 10, 11-2.

 

 

Day 30: 7184 miles later

By admin on March 18, 2012

Useless to think you’ll park or capture it

More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,

A hurry through which known and strange things pass

As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways

And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Seamus Heaney, from Postscript

Exactly…

 

Day 28… and one more: Hale County, Alabama

By admin on March 6, 2012

I left Vicksburg Sunday morning and headed east across Mississippi to reach my destination for the evening -The Myrtle Hill Bed and Breakfast in Marion, Alabama in anticipation of discovering the Hale County of James Agee and Walker Evans. Of William Christenberry and of the Rural Studio. I was greeted there by the courtly Colonel Jerry Lewiss and his wife Wanda. They have carefully and lovingly restored Myrtle Hill, an antebellum home, built around 1840 and so named for its crape myrtles. They open the home and its extensive gardens to seekers just like myself.

This summer I reread Let Us Now Praise Famous Men imagining the long-considered occasion of coming here, but never anticipating that my visit would be the last stop on a 7000 miles journey across the country and back. It ended up not being the last stop. My day here in Alabama was everything and more that I hoped it would be. So much so that I didnt leave Greensboro until dusk, leaving me to make my way back to the interstate to stay one final night on the road. Now I cannot imagine it any other way.

But, back to the first day…With a welcome cup of coffee left for me in the hall at the back door by Colonel Lewiss before he headed off to work, I sat on the back porch with my face tilted to the early March morning sun. A light dusting of yellow-green pollen coated everything I touched. In front of me was the antebellum kitchen that had been returned to its 1840′s appearance. Wanda Lewiss explained to me that it had been the home of the kitchen slave who lived and worked there and made her way with food for the home under a covered connected walk that had since been removed but whose evidence still remained. Surrounding the kitchen and the house were gardens traversed by pea gravel walks. Azaleas, jasmine, dogwoods, cherry all about to burst with color. Beyond was gentle lawn that bordered the domain of a rooster who apparently did not think he was being given his due…

I headed out to Newbern to find the office of the Rural Studio hoping for an orientation and some directions to the projects in and around Newbern. My first stop was the Newbern Mercantile which seemed like a welcome(and only) place to stop and eat before my exploration. I entered a wooden floored general store that seemed to have changed very little since its inception in the 1840s.I had no idea of my good fortune until I took my grilled cheese sandwich and went outside, thinking to sit alone on a bench and watch the passersby.

Like a bird on a wire, I was joined first by one man and then another, and as our conversation became more and more enlivened, we were joined by others who seemed to want to compete with one another with stories of their own. Someone notice my camera and asked if I would take their pictures. I dutifully recorded addresses and will send the pictures to all when I get back and can print them. My first companion was James Robinson, who informed me that his were both the first and last words in the documentary Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio. For obvious reasons, it had been on my mind the night before but I had been unable to watch it. James was born in Hale County in 1948 and has lived his entire live right where we sat. I learned more from his generous storytelling than I ever could have from any other source.

Just down the road from the Mercantile I stumbled upon and was allowed to stay and listen in on a class discussion of a project –  the vernacular credibility of the design of a handicap ramp in front of a proposed house – led by Rural Studio director Andrew Freear.

I left that building and walked down the sidewalk, heading south. As if I had dreamed them and were simply conjuring them on this sunny blue morning, I found myself in front of some of the very structures I already knew. They were ingrained in my mind as the incomparable photographs of William Christenberry. There it was – the ‘Green Warehouse, Newbern ,Alabama’ utterly unchanged from the series of photographs he made of this building beginning in 1973.

Others followed.

I drove down to the Morrissette House in Newbern where Rural Studio offices are open Monday through Friday and received a lovely welcome, a map and some helpful conversation.

I spent my afternoon in reverie driving through a poetic landscape, a place mindful of its past perhaps because it is all still so very present. Never knowing where I was going, but never lost.

I drove out to Masons Bend on the Black Warrior River and was taken in hand by the owner of one of the first houses created by the Rural Studio who showed me his and other nearby properties. Ever mindful of the privacy of the owners of these homes, my presence in their small community seemed unremarkable to all. I stood in the Glass Chapel, a soaring open-air structure made from old truck and car windshields and red clay.

I walked through an old cemetery in Greensboro and sat before the Courthouse as James Agee and Walker Evans did 75 years ago until a setting sun reminded me that my day was over.

One last night to get it right.

 

 

Day 27: Vicksburg, Mississippi

By admin on March 6, 2012

The storm passed and left a blue, cool breezy day in its wake. Perfect to take in the now beautiful Vicksburg National Military Park. Starting first with a drive through since it is a 16 miles loop through the Park, I went around again to stop and walk in and around the memorials in contained.

I asked a ranger where the cemetery was since I had somehow missed it both times and he asked, “Which one?” The United States casualties are buried within the Park. The Confederate casualties, he told me, were just pulled off the battlefield and buried in the city cemetery of Vicksburg. I took a drive over there after the Park closed and found these nameless stones.