We have had a stretch of gorgeous days along the Ohio River! Lately, it has been more fun to be outdoors than indoors and consequently, documenting and posting about those adventures has taken a back seat to exploring. With rain in today’s forecast, it seems a good day to play catch up. Allow me, “Insert Name Here”, to be your host on what was a very productive day spent along the western shoreline at the Falls of the Ohio State Park a couple weekends a go. This was the first time I had ventured on this side of the park since our seasonal bout of flooding. In the past, this has also been a good place to find driftwood and plastic bottles. For today, I decided to walk along the riverbank utilizing the materials I came across and see how far that would carry me. Here’s today’s results in order of completion.
This year, I have a new series that I have enjoyed exploring in this driftwood and petrochemical playground. In part, it is a response due to the abundance of plastic bottle’s in this year’s flotsam and jetsam. It’s a challenge to try to use these materials in ways that will cause others to notice them afresh. We have become accustomed to having so much plastic around us and despite the often brilliant color of these objects, are relegated to the background like so many other things we have used or don’t care to acknowledge or know what to do about because so many other things are competing for our attention. To try to regain some element of focus, I have been clustering and combining mostly plastic containers in site specific areas along the trail. It’s an all organic study. Some of them present as shrines and are a reminder that we are all pilgrims on the river’s journey.
This piece which I’m calling “Arrangement in Blue Plastic” was assembled not too far away from the previous work. All the blue plastic elements were found in the surrounding area and deposited by high water. Among the found blue oddities includes a plastic boom-a-rang, the spade from a broken plastic shovel, and a beat up, formerly plush, blue plastic puppy. The arrangement is backed up by found, joined lumber.
This is a detail of the head from “Bemoaning Figure”. He’s a large Styrofoam sculpture about 6 feet tall. The area where I left him was very muddy…which in this case also aided in standing him up.
The polystyrene floated into the park along with the plastic bottles. I try to respect the shapes the river gives me with this foam. I thought the head was a particularly nice form. I was additionally lucky because both the head and body were found near one another and I didn’t need to carry so much stuff back and forth.
I left “Bemoaning Man” mired in the mud which was more than five inches or so of thick sticky fudge. I stepped right out of one of my shoes setting this figure up in the landscape! I had to find and pull my shoe out of the mud while balancing on one leg.
On the way from my trip…I stopped and reused a shelf I had set up earlier. I have become so much better at strategizing and planning as I go along. This is resulting in more pieces being photographed at the river.
As I walked along, I was picking up lost flip-flops and putting them into my collecting bag. At the end of day, I try to make an image with whatever I happened to find. So far, I’m calling this piece “Family Circle”. I left the wayward footwear right in this spot and moved on. All that’s left to look at before calling it a productive day are a couple of pictures of me (for scale) taken earlier in the morning.
Here I am posed next to one of my favorite trees in the park. It’s a large cottonwood tree that has been featured on this blog many times before. I have taken refuge underneath its roots during thunder storms and people like to camp out around it. It is one of the best features in the western section of the park. The day has been a long, but productive one with several river art projects realized. Thanks for tagging along…here’s one last look back at the full height of that cottonwood tree.