This is an excerpt from a essay I created during my MFA to parody Conceptual Art, creating a premise wherein a post-Post Modern aesthetic is applied to creating round hay bales. This flowery little ditty was created at my father’s kitchen table on a bright summer day in late July of 2001- it was written to be a bit over the top, as a journal entry of one of the characters who is smitten with a percieved romance of the Montana ranching lifestyle. It does, however, point toward my current work.
the form of the bale is an infinite spiral in a finite space. the bail encapsulates verdant spring in all her glory of alpine wildflower and rich meadow grass. the bale is a talisman of Persephone to keep the earth from despair when she is gone to Dis. in their Montana homeland they are life itself in the depth of northern winter. they are formed by one man and many machines, formed to care for his herd. they are a testament to a life lived in harmony with seasons, of a man who lives his bond to the earth. when he was young the work was done with horses and a family of eight. now, with the aid of machines, he runs the ranch alone. the individual working in isolation with machines in a landscape that wants to swallow up all signs of man.
the fields of baled hay hold a mathematical symmetry, a cosmological grouping, a sense of the underlying structure of the universe, man’s conception of the LOGOS in tangible form, man’s existential desire for form and meaning and harmony.
multiple objects made by machines, too large to be moved without machines, yet they blend into the vast landscape and offer no affront to nature. they are of a relationship of man and earth, of plant-life and season and faith in nature, of man understanding self and world and his own constant animal effort. they are a bridge, not only man and earth, not only of summer in winter, but of humanity through all seasons. they are a pure conception of time as spiral, space as curve, mass as direction, and the mysterious simultaneity of gravity and electricity which is best sensed when the self is in motion around the static bales so that the relativity of time, distance, and perception bespeak the physics and metaphysics of the particular. the deep aesthetic of science arises with this motion, twin to the deep aesthetic of art.
they are objects created to be unmade. in the depths of the northern winter they are unwound, rolled backwards to their spiral under a cold sun that dazes the night for a few short hours before the earth returns to darkness and the sky to stars and moonlight and silver tendrils of Aurora Borealis, spring is uncapsulated and devoured by the harsh winter gods, the Norse apocalypse of endless dark winter destroying all creation crushes inward with the cold, but faith of seasons is offered in the Greek trust of Dionysus’ annual resurrection, even after his death that heralds all tragedy.
I didn’t work on this yesterday, or the day before really- as my sister flew in from Sacramento to pick up my Dad’s truck. It is the lovely Ford F-250 V-10 that effortlessly hauled the old Mustang down from Montana. Now it is off to it’s new life as a California truck- it snowed yesterday and the day before; the last snow the truck will ever see. A bit too much truck for hauling groceries though- it will resume it’s life as a working truck on my sister’s little sheep ranch.
I decided to work larger for this series, 32 x 48, and work in acrylic house paint (yellow, green, brown, white). This series explores a meadow full of unwinding hay bails, from many summers ago up on the MT ranch. They occurred because of a mechanical defect with the bailer. They are meditations on physical collapse, once again investigating my father’s life and struggle with cancer.