Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Western Ho!

I visited the west/southwest USA on two occasions this month.   First, by re-visiting the art of Georgia O'Keefe and second, my first trip to Utah and Salt Lake City.

For the annual Methuen Festival of Trees  https://bestthingsma.com/event/methuen-festival-of-trees-2018-11-19-methuen-ma.html Western Avenue Studio artist volunteers created handmade tree ornaments  inspired by the art of Georgia O'Keefe.   O'Keefe's painting, Cow Skull and Calico Roses, inspired me to constructed ornaments of miniature paper sculpture cow skulls. Not wanting to stop, I made small adobe houses using self hardening clay over mat board cube constructions and wood dowels for timbers. I also made a couple dozen tissue paper poppies for fill ins.

Later in the month I flew to Utah visiting the Beehive state for the first time. I love to visit with my long time artist friend,Terry, who is a recent transplant from Annapolis, Maryland. There was plenty of dry and sunny weather for a range of activities such as English high tea at the opulent Grand America Hotel in SLC, a tour of Temple Square with Mormon missionaries, consuming delicious hamburgers at the iconic Ruth's Diner and a ramble through winter inspired botanic gardens with a side trip to the collection of gigantic dinosaur bones at the Natural History museum. 

Unfortunately, the nemesis in this largely inhabited valley, created by the Wasatch Mountain Front, is its poor air quality: a soupy mix of air pollution caused by ozone in summer and particulate matter in winter. The smog is most notable when looking down into the valley from a mountain vantage point.

So what's next to visit? Hopping into the Tundra truck for a long drive, we headed into the hinterlands to see The Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson constructed in 1970  in the waters of Great Salt Lake. Utah has experience years of drought and the Great Salt Lake has shrunk in size due to evaporation. The land installation, constructed with local basalt rocks, now sits high and dry on the lake's sandy bed surrounded by glistening colonies of salt crystals with the shore line miles away.

Because of the project's environmental uniqueness, the state of Utah name The Spiral Jetty an official art work site and so it has claimed its fame along side with the area's important ancient rock art, pictographs and petroglyphs. The Spiral Jetty is truly unique in form and conception.

I created my own pictograph in the sands along side the Jetty.

And now I sit, looking out my office window at New England's early snow showers and at a forecast of blustery temps on Thanksgiving.

Be Thankful.