Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Joshua Tree Interventions

William Lamson arrived at BoxoHOUSE in late January, hot on the heels of having installed exhibitions at MOCA and Robishon Gallery in Denver, and at Whittier College outside of Los Angeles. Despite the pace, he jumped into a set of experiments using simple materials both acquired from supply stores as well as borrowed from nature.

Will's intent was to make simple gestures in the landscape using a set of materials (mylar sheeting, mylar strips, silver tape and lengths of 2x1 lumber), shoot images and be guided by what he found. Given that desert light is harsh for most of the day, he was intent on shooting at dawn and dusk. As some of the setups required two sets of hands to hold steady during the shoots, I was called to assist - a fun role from which I learned a lot. I also witnessed some amazing boulder climbing and contortions as Will moved around finding the best framing for his shots.

As it ended up, the first few days of his time here were unusually cloudy, so there were many more hours of workable light. Will was able to experiment and adjust quite a bit during that time. He started working with mylar and wood in the boulder piles behind BoxoHOUSE and moved on to land adjacent to A-Z West to play with balancing rocks. We eventually ventured to a place known as Heaven on earth - 600 acres near Pioneertown stewarded by the legendary Garth. The day was spent there using all the materials at hand including a length of curled metal sheeting that allowed for some very strong images. 

William Lamson, untitled, 2013
Between setups, Will worked hard devising new concepts and framing up various props to support the materials in new ways. The final setup was involved 100 ft roll of mylar set on a frame and held taught with an improvised winching mechanism. The material was set on Coyote (Dry) Lake one afternoon in order to catch the dusk light. The results were so compelling that the whole setup was left overnight and we returned for a pre-dawn shoot that yielded yet more strong results.

Despite the continuing pace of work, Will also found time to meet up with Aurora Tang  from CLUI / HDTS (with whom he had worked on a previous residency), tour A-Z West, take in open mic at the Saloon, attend a screening at the wonderful bi-weekly Cosmic Monday film nights, view the Noah Purifoy Foundation site and have a sound bath at the Integratron on his way out. Phew.

Many thanks to Will for an action packed week and a day, and for the intriguing works which will be exhibited at BoxoOFFICE later this year.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Residency Goodness

David Goodman kicked off the second season of residencies at BoxoHOUSE with a highly productive couple of weeks. David's focus for the residency was to map his relationship to the desert environment based on a science of looking and understanding. His approach is comparable to archeology - reconstruction of a visual landscape based on traces. For materials, David turned to paper he brought with him that had been immersed in the snows of Santa Fe as well as found materials lying in the local landscape.

Courtesy of Douglas Wolfe

To kick off the residency appropriately, a couple of activities were called for. First, a walk in the landscape along the north ledge of the National Park boundary adjacent to BoxoHOUSE. This was the first of many walks that David took in which he comprehensively experienced the section of Joshua Tree sandwiched between the National Nark and Highway 62. On the morning of day two, a sound bath at the Integratron to balance energies for the days and weeks ahead.

Despite the fact that construction on converting the freestanding garage structure into an environmentally-controlled studio was not starting until February, David moved in and worked long hours during an unusually cold snap. His drawings evolved, informed by his daily perambulations as well as interactions with the local community through our participation at the monthly art crawl, periodic outings to local eateries and attendance at the Cosmic Monday film series.

David also began to work with fabrics he had found in the landscape, eventually creating several fabric works as well as incorporating some fabric into his drawings. As the works grew in number and scope, David began installing them on the walls, initiating the use of the raw space for exhibition.

On the second weekend of David's time here, he was joined by Douglas Wolfe a friend and photographer who came out to do his own exploration of the environment as well as to be part of documenting David's work. 

On Sunday January 13, we held an open house for the community. To address the cold, David prepared a very large pot of chicken soup and several dozen hearty souls appeared to consume both the broth, engage with the artworks and create a sense of warm community. David whitewashed some of the walls and installed a large fabric piece in the courtyard between the house and the structure. Both art and soup were very well received.

Courtesy of Douglas Wolfe
Courtesy of Douglas Wolfe

Courtesy of Douglas Wolfe
David had also created a participatory sound piece, Tuningfield, inspired by his experience at the Integratron. Participants are invited to enter the land in front of BoxoHOUSE, carrying a wooden stake fashioned by David from found wood. Once they find a spot that resonates with them, based partially on experiencing the sense of being surrounding by sounds as they echo off the rock face behind, participants insert the stake in the ground. This is an ongoing project, initiated that day and now living on beyond David's time here. He ahs offered to keep making and sending stakes as the Tuningfield continues to be fertile.

Courtesy of Douglas Wolfe

Tuningfield  is a very apt legacy for David to leave behind - an inspired project that maps back his experience here, links across geography and time and allows the community remain connected to the art, the artist and the site. Many thanks to David for his impactful presence.

David has also comprehensively documented his residency under the title ANATOMYOFADESERT, and you can read all about it here.