by Stephanie Clark
The scale of the Spiral Jetty tends to fluctuate depending on where the viewer happens
to be. Size determines an object, but scale determines art. A crack in the wall if viewed
in terms of scale, not size, could be called the Grand Canyon. A room could be made to
take on the immensity of the solar system. Scale depends on one’s capacity to be
conscious of the actualities of perception.
From the center of the Spiral Jetty
North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
North by East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northeast by North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northeast by East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
East by North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
East by South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southeast by East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southeast by South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
South by East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
South by West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southwest by South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southwest by West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
West by South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
West by North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northwest by West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northwest by North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
North by West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
-The Spiral Jetty (Arts of the Environment, edited by
Gyorgy Kepes, 1972) as written by Robert Smithson from
The Writings of Robert Smithson. Edited by Nancy Holt,
After driving from New Mexico to Colorado, and through the night into Utah, the morning was clear as we made our way through golden fields. Hawks flew overhead, landing on fence posts. We drove onward onto graveled dirt roads, stopping the car to run on these roads and stretch our legs and arms in the expanse surrounding us. The September sky was crisp and clean.
We drove on as the red road curved.
We saw no one.
Finally, in the distance a blueish gray line paralleled a pink line below it. Spiral Jetty was just below these visible lines. It appeared small from our aerial view. We parked and the three of us parted ways, bounding up the hill above, or toward the salt flats below. Everything was bright as the sun radiated off of the films of salt that covered the land.
“Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water”, as Robert Smithson described in his 1972 essay on Spiral Jetty, were in every direction.
Our dog ran far into the distance. A red dot running as if she were born to, yet at some point, the smell of salt became noxious for her senses. The salt was much too potent for her keen sense of smell. She came sprinting back to me and we walked Spiral Jetty together slowly and calculated.
Darting back up the hillside, I set up my studio on the rocks near the car—which provided some minimal shade from the glaring sun. Here I painted.
Figures appeared on the salt flats below. Appearing to be hiking in from another field. After some time three travelers appeared also via car. One man and two women, all from Belgium were curious about us. They were impressed by how very much our dog appeared to “enjoy art” and upon us asking revealed that they were taking a land art tour of the Southwest. I mentioned Erin Hogan’s book, Spiral Jetta, which was a resource for us as we planned our trip to Spiral Jetty and previously to Marfa, Texas.
After being in the bright sun and intense heat from early morning until mid-afternoon we decided to move on. The colors of the salt flats had shifted displaying more pinks and washed out Payne’s grays than the deep silvers and slate blues of the morning.
We moved on.
Thank you so much, Stephanie, for sharing your experience of painting at Spiral Jetty! I think I’ll start planning my own land art tour ASAP!
Images by Stephanie Clark and Andrew Yost.
I’m sure you didn’t think I’d be back so soon and this is just a momentary pop-in. But I couldn’t let a new month dawn without bringing you a new Featured Artist! When first we met October Featured Artist, Raquel Edwards, it was almost exactly three years ago and she was exploring beauty through the lens of a camera rather than a canvas.
Artists are driven by the need to explore and express and Raquel is no exception. Switching from photography to painting, she’s now discovering new techniques and means of visualization digging into the nature of cognition. The shapes she presents are somewhat familiar, yet just foreign enough that we can draw our own conclusions as to the meaning of their presence.
To see more of Raquel Edwards’ work, please visit her website. One of her gorgeous encaustic paintings is gracing the Artsy Forager Facebook page all month long and I’ll be sharing favorites of Raquel’s work as often as I can on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest.
All images are via the artist’s website.
This morning I awoke before the sun in San Francisco and boarded a one-way flight bound for my Florida home. I’ve shared previously about my mom’s cancer diagnosis and the battle is taking its toll on her. She needs me more than this blog does, so I will be away for a while.
I’m so grateful to each of you who have taken on the role of caregiver for a parent and have reached out to me and told me what a cherished and important time it became. Those stories give me strength and courage to know that I am not the first to walk this line, nor will I be the last. I hope that when this chapter is complete, I can be a help and hope to someone else at the beginning of this journey.
I’m going to miss blogging and sharing artists with you every day, but this is just a temporary break and I hope to be able to use this time not only to focus on my mom, but to dive deeper into painting ( having Mr. F ship my paints to Florida! ) and work through my feelings by creating. The two paintings above are little studies I’ve done for my mom since she began chemo. Inspired by advice from M.A. Tateishi, I wanted her to know how much she was on my mind and heart and provide her with something tangible to hold and connect with me while we were on opposite coasts. Maybe when we are together I can convince her to paint with me!
I’ll be checking in when I can here and on the Artsy Forager social media channels. If you’re on Instagram, I’ll see you there! Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers, dear Artsies. I’ll see you again soon.
Being out in the woods or hiking in the mountains can be an intimidating experience. It is when we are in the enormity of the wilderness that we realize how very small and insignificant we are. These paintings by Spanish artist Paco Pomet seem to have that same feeling of being in the midst of an overwhelming landscape.
Mountains take over offices and pink clouds engulf a riverscape as Pomet uses carefully placed color to emphasize the distinction between man and panorama. Each painting has an incredible sense of scope and depth, so that the feeling of the immensity of the earth is readily apparent.
To see more of Paco Pomet‘s work, please visit his website.
All images are via the artist’s website. Artist found via The Artful Desperado.
In our travels, Mr. F and I have seen some beautiful sights from the highway. During our time in Yosemite, we often found ourselves driving through the park from the valley up to our campground after nightfall. There was something that completely enchanted me about the mountains silhouetted against the night sky and the way the headlights lit up the trees to a surprisingly bright green. In these paintings from her Roads and Carousel series, UK artist Sarah Shaw captures that magic to be found in the night.
These paintings seem to glow with that mystical light that happens when the landscape is lit artificially, spotlighting small sections and leaving others to blackness. How true that seems sometimes in life.. we focus our light, our attention on what is in front of us, the needs of that moment, while the periphery waits in silence for its turn.
To see more of Sarah Shaw‘s work, please visit her website.
All images are via the artist’s website.
Isn’t it funny how selective our memories of childhood can be? How some moments seem so vivid while others are barely recalled? UK artist Hannah Lewis Davies‘ paintings explore those fleeting memories as well as the imaginary worlds we create in childhood.
I have a feeling that being with my mom will bring back a lot of childhood memories. It’s funny that what I remember most about my mom from childhood aren’t necessarily memories of her specifically, though she was a constant, caring presence, but it’s more her things. I remember being fascinated with her jewelry and shoes. It was the 70s and my mom had amazing taste in shoes! Wedges to die for! And there were the books and clothes, especially one filmy peignoir that I would wear and imagine myself as a princess or an actress accepting the Academy Award. Without even realizing it, she set up a world that opened up my imagination– one where I could discover and reinvent myself, surround myself with beauty, go on adventures. As an adult, I’m still striving to do all those things, but she planted the seed.
To see more of Hannah Lewis Davies‘ work, please visit her website.
All images via the artist’s website. Artist found via Saatchi Online.
I like to think of life like a puzzle. We are given all these disjointed bits yet they fit together in a way that is unique to our own personality and experience. These collages by Cincinnati artist M Michael Smith remind me that though we may draw from similar backgrounds, our piles of pieces are only our own.
As we grow and mature, we add to our “piles” and though the pieces being added might be similar to others’, our pile is particular to us. That piece that peeks out from the bottom of your pile, significant, but only barely, maybe at the top and center of my heap. In his artist statement, M Michael Smith reveals that touch is central to his work. I’m of course giving my own interpretation, seeing these collages as symbols not of physical touch but of how our lives are touched and molded by experience.
To see more of M Michael Smith‘s work, please visit his website.
All images are via the artist’s website.
In the physical absence of a loved one, photographs can be an only slightly adequate substitute. We can see a familiar face, but we can’t watch it change with expression or see it shifting slightly with age. In his work, artist Harding Meyer paints faces once frozen in photographs, but now isolated and animated in paint.
The faces stare out, almost pleading for connection. How often do we look directly into another’s eyes in the course of our day? Maybe we stare into our partner’s eyes without inhibition, but do we ever really look into the eyes of strangers? Are we so scared of what we may see looking back?
To see more of Harding Meyer‘s work, please visit his website.
Images are via the artist’s website and the website of his representing gallery, Galerie Voss.
Life is rarely neat and orderly. Like a bride in a Taco Bell drive thru, we find ourselves is weird positions and unexpected places. These paintings by artist Andrea Brown offer an elegant look at the surprising strangeness of life.
Sometimes, we’re moving along, everything calm and monotonous even, but then something remarkable happens to surprise us. Maybe a butterfly comes through an open window and greets you or you spot a hint of green vine slowly creeping its way up a lonely wall. These are the moments that we sometimes overlook, but the ones that layer our lives with joy, that let us break for smiles in what is often too much drudgery. I’ll be on the lookout for surprises this weekend, will you?
To see more of Andrea Brown‘s work, please visit the Salt Fine Art website.
All images are via the Salt Fine Art website.
Most artist statements today are filled with thoughts on motivation and meaning. I think we’ve somehow become uncomfortable with the idea of just making art for the sake of creating. There must be some kind of deep intellectual thought behind those marks! And perhaps there always is on one level. For an artist like Rose Masterpol, the reason they create is for the pure pleasure of the process.
The advent of photography freed painters from the need to represent. We can, instead, fully revel in the action and process of the painting itself. Full immersion into pure expression, building layer upon layer of mark and color until what we see is fully pleasing to the artist’s eye. The viewer then, is left to find what it is that those marks mean to them, engaging the outsider with the intimate creation.
To see more of Rose Masterpol’s work, please visit her website.
All images are via the artist’s website.