El paso / the pass
We all have astory to tell, rich in memories, life lessons, experiences from the mundane to the powerful.
This body of work depicts part of my story. A series of work in progress entitled "El Paso : The Pass." What is on display is about a quarter of the entire project. Autobiographical, regionalism, stereotype...allthe stuff i have tried to side step in my work up until this point, is all right here, hanging on the wall. I decided to go forward with this project because I feel it is relevant, possibly interesting, and basically time to exorcise these images and concepts.
I was born and raised in the border town of El Paso, Texas and left when I was seventeen. It has been twenty years since I have visited El Paso -- with exception of a short visit a few years ago to bury my father. Throughout the years past, I have come to acknowledge the complexities and uniqueness of that border town. It is a portal of sorts...of cultural transference from one geopolitical region to another. The energy and friction created in such a passage -- bottleneck -- is extremely dynamic. (a beneficial yet challenging characteristic of that is part of our country.)
So, I reflect on the region.
The reflection has developed an ethereal focus which has moved me to produce this work. A work where my material for this expression is gathered from my subconscious, recollection, intuition and concrete experience. It has taken roughly twenty years to set in. (I could hardly be further away in many ways...! Yet it is still also familiar) Within those years, I've visited and lived in many unique and special places. Every place has its flavor -- from inane to incredible -- but one is sure to find character somewhere in that gamut. And that character that somehow seems unique to "place"...is also the common thread that allows us to relate to each other as people. Irrespective of what geographic location we come from.
Places, borders, passage, mobility, these are all realities. Is the concept, or institution of a "border" necessary - perhaps. Borders and boundaries give definition, they assure a sense of place, here and there, us and them. It is truly a matter of perspective. So here is one example, simplistic as it may be: The further away from Earth our fragmented planet is viewed, the more pronounced its single shade becomes
Thanks for your interest.
It was a cold snowy night in south coastal Maine when I was paid a visit from a jack rabbit. It looked me in the eye, made a couple of rabbit nose crunches, turned around and hopped into a vast mindscape. This is where my observations begin.
La tierra that the jack rabbit roams holds a rich story about the indigenous people of this same desert and its lineage. Before "Mexico" and before the "us" there were tribes and loose interpretations of Borders and Boundaries. The natives moved across this desert in a less defined manner, with only survival and curiosity as their guide. This is El Paso Del Norte - it is a portal of sorts from South to North and vise versa - there is a deep internal road map to some people of this earth. Similar to that of the Aborigines in Australia that go on walkabout. Or perhaps like the salmon's instinct to sim upstream as a matter of species survival.
El Paso Del Norte has always been this nomadic pass. There is an unearthly yet heavenly earthy and mystical feeling to this geographic area. It is home to tribal wars and international wars, whose souls and battle cries have shaped a region. It is a place of highly dense nationalities, hybridizations and vast immigration before "immigration" was a term. It was more about migration, like birds. This area is now guarded and defined with metal, barb, guns and perceptions. It is locked down as though walls fell from out of the sky. The jackrabbit, possibly indifferent, continues to exist parallel to these heavy synthetic walls. They act as man-made industrial dams similar to those that hamper the way of life for salmon.
It is our human destiny - to want to control and make everything understandable even at the risk of disrupting a natural order of what is and creating tension. It is unavoidable. Perhaps a natural course in itself. But here we are as a human race, and this is part of our experience that we have in an area like El Paso. A point. A pass. A blip on the map where a larger than life dynamism is bottle necked and attempted to control.
There is no fucking way my pigment and brushes can illuminate anything revealing about something so huge - the only thing I have is I was born and raised there - and I am really curious about it all. The Jack rabbit has helped me bring into focus a place and its people, and perhaps a feeling. I don't have solutions and sometimes have conflicting thoughts about the state of things. I can bring to light some of my observations about the complexities of the duality i experience living in the space between breaths that takes place amongst differing cultures. It is all of our history, really, because this is part of our country. This i snow, a part of our present day. And we are in the midst of creating our own history.
Although this is a defined body of work, my intent was to create each piece to be part of a bigger story. I also hope that each piece can stand alone outside of the entire series, like snapshots that offer a world within themselves.