During my visit to the Sun Tunnels I sat and composed a few quick half blind drawings of the Earthwork. I say half blind because I tend to keep it mostly quick and gestural without looking, but will look down occasionally to add a few last details that are thoughtfully placed. I started to draw like this my last semester at Alfred in Hope's drawing class. It started with the horses in Hope's class.
My last and final Earthwork that I visited on my trip was the Lightning Field. This work was created by Walter De Maria and commissioned by the Dia Foundation who to this day maintains the work and sets up visitation to the piece. The first two photos are of the Dia office in Quemado, NM. This is where the photos stop unfortunately, because the Lightning Field is a protected copyrighted work.
The visit starts out by arriving to the Dia office in Quemado then waiting for a truck to pick you up and take you to the work. After the truck arrives you pile in everything you will need for the night, because you are housed in a cabin that is located right near the work. The cabin houses 6 people at a time. My visit included one other girl and myself. It was the perfect amount of people we both later agreed. The drive is about 45 minutes on some unpleasant bumpy roads. After driving for awhile and looking at the beautiful scenery I finally saw that we were approaching. We came upon the cabin and the 400 stainless steel poles. The driver dropped us off and showed us the cabin and then said I'll pick you up tomorrow afternoon, then she left. For the next 24 hours it was just Tanja, myself the cabin and most importantly the work in the middle of nowhere.
So let me explain what the Lightning Field is.. The work consists of 400 stainless steel poles with pointed tips that form a grid within the land. The total dimensions are 1 mile x 1 kilometer. There are 25 poles running East to West and 16 poles running North to South, all evenly spaced 220 feet from each other within each row and are about 20 feet tall. The work is suppose to attract lightning when storms are crossing the desert. That is just one part of the work.
The experience of the work takes place in the Lightning Field. As you make your way into the Lightning Field you find yourself placed within this large grid that connects you to the surrounding environment. The natural landscape and extremely high elevation adds to the physical experience as you weave through the grid. The work seems to change in scale through the contact of other individuals within the large landscape. At times Tanja and I would be quite close in proximity and then all of a sudden be to far away to see each other. This allowed for the perception of scale to be heightened. The grid kept us in contact to a specific dimension within the land. The poles acted as place markers and were so structurally organized. As you stood in front of a single pole and gazed down the row you found how perfectly in line they actually are, it was quite amazing. The experience of the work addresses the time space continuum that is at hand. The experience of sleeping in a cabin in the middle of nowhere right upon the work with a stranger whom you get to know within the time of your visit is completely surreal and rewarding. The isolation allows you let go of everything and to fully take in the work, land, sky and people.
Deming! Another random town that holds something of interest to me! What is that exactly?? Cabinetlandia! Surprisingly I just found out about this while I was in Salt Lake City a week and half earlier. While staying with my friend Hikmet, whom I mentioned in an earlier post, asked me, "oh your going to visit Cabinetlandia aren't you"? I responded with what is that? After looking into this amazing one of a kind place, I quickly changed my route after I left Marfa and headed to Deming, New Mexico. Deming did not hold much outside of Cabinetlandia, but the motel I stayed at had two lovely older ladies who ran the place, which I ended picking up dinner for and chatting with for awhile. They were a riot!
So Cabinetlandia is a three tiered metal filing cabinet that exists in the desert and has been built into a human built hillside. The filing cabinet houses every issue of the magazine known as Cabinet, which is an artist magazine. The two bottom drawers house an assortment of items that have been left by visitors, whom have made the trip out to the remote location.
Directions to visit Cabinetlandia can be found on their website. Cabinetlandia is located about 20 minutes outside Deming. After traveling east away from Deming, I took a bridge over the highway and then proceeded to take a few left's and rights on random desert roads according to the directions. Along the way I saw some spiders, which I'm deathly afraid of and had to beep my horn at a heard of cows to move out of the road. Here are a few photos of the journey to Cabinetlandia! It was amazing!
Marfa! What can I say.. This small town with a population of roughly 2,000 people was one of my many destinations on my trip, reason being.. Donald Judd.
Donald Judd was an American artist through the latter part of the 20th century, mainly known for being associated with the art movement known as Minimalism. Judd was a maker, writer, theorist, designer, and many more wonderful things. He migrated to Marfa in the early 70's after being exhausted with the New York art scene. Judd had a distinct vision and throughout his life he executed and built that dream in Marfa. After relocating to Marfa he slowly started to purchase and acquire more land. He methodically restored and redesigned the buildings to accommodate his object and furniture. After Judds death the Dia Foundation and Chinati Foundation took over his property and now preserve and run the property full time, allowing visitors from all over the world to visit and experience the life of Donald Judd, as well as the other artists whom have permanent collections within the foundations.
Judd worked in a spacial manner. Each room you enter was carefully considered through the layout and placement of his objects and furniture. As your body navigates through the space you come into contact with objects that methodically exist within the frame of the architecture. The spaces are cohesive and make sense on physical and visual level.
Visitors are not allowed to photograph any of the work! The only photographs that are allowed are of the outdoor cement structures of Judd's. You will just have to visit Marfa to experience the wonders! Okay so now outside of Donald Judd, Marfa also is a town that is just filled with great art, restaurants, buildings and PEOPLE. If one is to visit Marfa get your wave hand ready, because everyone WAVES at you!
After leaving Salt Lake City and before arriving to Santa Fe I stopped along at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah and The Grand Canyon. Both visits were a surreal experience. These canyons are Earthworks within themselves! Naturally occurring beautiful forms! Here are some photos..
While at the Grand Canyon I was hiking down one of the three trails at the South Rim and found a side of the canyon very intriguing. The lines that cut through the stone made for a nice composition. After I took a few photos I suddenly noticed that it reminded me of one my pieces in my BFA show. Maybe thats why I was drawn to it.
So for the past few days I have been camping and have not had internet or much cell reception, which actually was quite nice. Although we all need our fix of technology sooner or later. I went to visit my third earthwork actually right after the Sun Tunnels, but did not have time to post these photos.
The Spiral Jetty was designed and constructed by American artist Robert Smithson in the year 1970. The Earthwork is located on the northeast shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, which is roughly 2 and 1/2 hours northwest of Salt Lake City. The work was made using the native basalt rock that runs the land and shore of the lake. The physical attributes of the Jetty are forever changing due to the fluctuating levels of the lake. My dear friend Hikmet, whom i stayed with in Salt Lake City continuously documents the Jetty through her website and has a link to the current lake levels, www.hikmetsidneyloe.com. The Jetty at one point was submerged for 30 years. Due to the lake levels while I was there, the Jetty was not completely visible. Walking in the highly salted lake on the basalt rocks was a calming retreat, but had its moments of uncertainty. Possibly this feeling comes from how one first arrives to the work. The gravel road winds around the shore and as you park and look to the lake you first see the work as a whole (one piece). Approaching the water towards the Jetty that whole breaks down to the water, slat crusted rocks and sand. As you back away from the Jetty and climb the hill that whole becomes present again, but the work changes yet again, adding the view of the shoreline and skyline from afar allows the works to become more of a line drawing within the landscape.
Ceramicist, artist, traveler. Until the funds run out.