Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Focusing on the Near

Focusing on the Near ~ featuring new work by myself and Elizabeth Kinahan at Studio &:

Opening ~ Friday, May 11th
5 ~ 9pm
1027 Main Ave. Durango, CO

Artist's Statement:
Think about a lifetime of stillness.  Of remaining in one place.  Of focusing on the near.

I live in a place with a history of staying put.  A place of people who are connected to the landscape as if it were another limb.  Native Americans with their homelands, pioneers with their homesteads, farmers and ranchers with their fields and range.  I admire these close connections to land and landscape and have come to realize that, like any intimate relationship, these connections take dedication.  They take commitment and patience.  They take keeping an eye on enduring horizons.

Often we believe we know a place after a day, a month, a year.  But the truth is that even after a lifetime in the midst of it we really never know all the details of what surrounds us.  The particulars frequently evade us, but as often as not the essential features are just as hard to see.  Even a landscape that may seem static – a mountain that never moves, a sky that’s always broad and above – is a dynamic, evolving thing.  In geologic time, surely, but also in the blink of an eye.

Consider a spring squall.  One moment it’s sunshine and apricot blossoms, the next it’s snow and lateral wind.  Turn your head and the light, the view, the temperature, the mood of the day… everything changes.  How can we ever really hold on to static notions?

The work in this show is inspired by this idea of focusing on the near, of keeping an eye on that enduring horizon.  All the images that inform or appear in this work come from the region that I call home; some just outside my back door, others within a day’s drive.  Nothing is more exotic than a dusty sunset, nothing more mundane than a dirt road.  All are forever changing and surprising, offering a thousand more ways to look at the same view.

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The work of writer Merrill Gilfillan was an inspiration as I prepared for this show.  He is a great practitioner of a lifetime of stillness, writing about the Great Plains in a way that takes in the vast stretch of the historical arc while looking closely at the here and now. In addition to an attraction to wide open spaces, we also share an affinity for birds. 

Many of the names of the pieces included here are lines pulled from his poetry and prose. 

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~  Rosie Carter

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