The Street Suites Series developed over time.

 

The original seed of inspiration was planted in me when I was in Los Angeles and got hooked by what appeared on the cities walls. Artful and grafitied messages, wild and spontaneous acts of communication by unknown contributors or by positioned makers created visually vibrant works of art everywhere there was an available wall. Urban walls, covered in every kind of material that could stick, transforming constantly into what is revealed through time alone.  I took a series of photographs at that time called L.A.Wall Collages. 

 

Years passed before I discovered a more random and equally satisfying series of walls. These are more temporary and random feeling than the L.A. walls. The Ohio Avenue structures are covered in layers of peeling and blistering messages, signs, tags. Its harsh in its beauty. Its color palet is soothing, soft grays and blues. Jagged boards hammered over holes in the walls pop out from the surface like a slice of bright color.

 

In the winter when the trees lining Ohio Avenue have lost all of their leaves shadows appear against the length of the wall. Beautiful and random the limbs of the trees decorate the worn surfaces of the Ohio Avenue facade. The elements of wind and water and the passing impermanence of time are recurring themes in my work.

 

 The pieces in the Street Suites Series are a reflection on these ideas and visual curiosities. I paste down images, found words, leaflets, photographs and other ephemera, often found on the streets. I sand away the layers of meaning, I sand away and disappear forever what had meaning for me the day before. I fold in layers of community, place and time then allow for the alchemy of spontaneity to create anew. I enter in the realm of the random and the meaningful. I am the creator and the destroyer in my own way.


Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary, 

or even 

a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance

and comfort.

 

 

Not one can manage a single sound, though the blue jays

carp and whistle all day in the branches, without 

the push of the wind.

 

But to tell the truth after a while I'm pale with longing

for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen

 

and you can't keep me from the woods, from the tonnage of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.

 

Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a 

little sunshine, a little rain.

 

Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from 

one boot to another--why don't you get going?

 

For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.

 

And to tell the truth I don't want to let go of the wrists

of idleness, I don't want to sell my life for money,

I don't even want to come in out of the rain.









The stars look like a broken belt

Glittering over the lakes and mountains

 

The moon looks like a tilted crown

 

Down here there's a whole lot of racket

In Churches and bedrooms

Some good folks are speaking in tongues

And raising the rafters

 

I wonder if the Lord ever gets tired

Of so much flattery from the fundamentalists

He probably likes it better

Than all the complaints and entreaties

 

I'm standing up to listen

But he has nothing to say to atheists

 

It would be nice to believe

That heaven is like a schooyard

In which everyone gets chosen

Even the laggards

 

My friends are seekers and exiles

Who won't desert the stories

 

Me

I can't give him up

But I can't believe in him either

It's a one-sided relationship

I without thou

 

He has whole galaxies to worry about

I don't suppose he gets too worked up

My puny self

Is more real to me

Than his immense nonbeing

 

I'm a tiny void with attributes

With my own little river of tears

 

But what is he

Who fills the world with trees and stars

And leaves us alone

With our wars and atrocities

Our deadly human nature

Our sad dominion over the fish and the fowl

 

Look

No one knows why

There is so much silence in the upper spheres

And so much suffering down here

 

The Almighty skipped over our houses

 

 


We teach our children one thing only, as we were taught: to wake up. We teach our children to look alive there, to join by words and activities the life of human culture on the planet's crust. As adults we are almost all adept at waking up. We have so mastered the transition we have forgotten we ever learned it. Yet it is a transition we make a hundred times a day, as, like so many will-less dolphins, we plunge and surface, lapse and emerge. We live half our waking lives and all of our sleeping lives in some private, useless, and insensible waters we never mention or recall. Useless, I say. Valueless, I might add-until someone hauls their wealth up to the surface and into the wide-awake city, in a form that people can use.

Annie Dillard, Teaching A Stone To Talk


“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.” -Auguste Rodin










In the village in the village in the village

Life repeats itself.

There is sunlight; there is darkness. The dark

repeats itself, the light repeats itself;

planting repeats itself, harvest repeats itself. 

Yet life is never dull. 

It pats the drum-hide of the night and is satisfied. 

It listens for footfalls when the dogs bark

in the village in the village in the village

 

In the village in the village in the village

life repeats itself, life undoes itself

and then does itself up in the same guise. 

We are careful not to fail to repeat

the same salutations, the same farewells

our parents and our parents' parents use.

They are wise; we are small and the day long.

Death comes but once but when it comes to life

no one would be unwilling to repeat

in the village in the village in the village

 

Andrew Oerke


According to the Bible, Adam named the animals. Once mankind named them, they seemed ours to do with as we wished. Yet we were never as distant as we thought, and if we are learning anything in the Anthropocene, it is that we are not really separate from the plants and animals. An important part of the landscape now, our built environments are also an expression of nature--termites erect mounds, humans erect farms and cities--and can be more, or less, sustainable. The choice is ours.


Diane Ackerman, NY Times, 8/31/14