It’s the end of March and Spring is in full swing at the Falls of the Ohio. Today, I have a bigger block of time and so I’m going back to the western section of the park to see how flooding has affected this area. I am expecting to find lots of plastic and who know’s what else…and this trip did not disappoint. Just about everywhere I looked, I found plastic and other trash. I will begin with a few images of stuff I came across.
Quite unexpectedly, I found myself immersed in a bear theme. I found this little blue plastic bear intermixed with the driftwood. It may actually represent a panda, but I think the latest thinking on this unique animal is that it is indeed more closely related to bears than to raccoons. Looks like it’s sucking its thumb. And now for bear number 2.
Here’s a piece that was originally intended for a little person. I’m going to venture that this is a teething ring. From the wear on the surface of the plastic, it looks like this object has spent some time in the river. If this is not a teething ring…I have no idea what it was originally intended to be? Okay, here is bear number 3 and it is a lot larger that these first two examples.
This piece is spectacularly integrated into the surrounding gravel! About half of it is visible and the rest is hidden by gravel deposited here during the last Ice Age glacier. I posted this image on my Facebook account and it resonated with a lot of my friends. I could go on and on with the junk I’ve found out here, but I think I can also do that by showing you my latest artwork which is of course, composed of found junk. On this beautiful day, I decided to continue my explorations using colorful found plastic and made a new variation on this theme that I think turned out pretty well. I’ll start with a few in process shots.
This is some of the found plastic I came across on this day. I brought two collecting bags and filled them both up. I then scouted around and found a large blue plastic tub that I pressed into service before incorporating it into my finished arrangement. The yellow object on the left is a water cooler minus the lid. I had to do a bit of navigating around an obstacle course of downed trees and built up driftwood. I’m usually still stiff and tired the day after I do one of these because I guess I’m not used to getting that much exercise anymore! My two sons are quick to tell me that I’m not a young man anymore and yes I do get goaded by their trash talking into trying stuff that on occasion is more physical than I need to attempt.
After selecting a site to build my latest arrangement. I separate out all this gathered up plastic into their various color groups. On this day, orange and purple items were in short supply, but I worked around that. I set up this piece next to a log that looks to me like it was split in half. The side you can see that is rough and beautiful and takes the setting sun well. From the opposite side of this log…you wouldn’t be able to see any of the plastic. It is intended as a surprise for those who come across it on this side of the park.
I will begin with a view that incorporates more of the local scenery. This piece is located next to an old cottonwood tree that has a severe lean to it. I can imagine that at some time in the not too distant future that this tree will eventually fall over. Even from this far away, you can see the color introduced by these plastic containers and such. Let’s get closer.
Now you can get more of a sense for the degree in which this tree is leaning towards the river.
There are essentially two layers stacked up here. The big blue plastic tub has a found board that finds its partner consisting of the yellow water cooler sitting on a plastic yellow child’s chair. The span is pretty level. The rest is a matter of picking and choosing color hues that you think will work best together. These plastic elements are not fixed in some way. Everything is free-standing or leaning against what is next to it. I have by accident…set off chain reactions where the whole arrangement collapses down like dominoes. That is where a little patience comes into play by beginning again and hopefully learning from each individual situation.
I can see elements in these three details that I know I have used before in other projects and were later scattered across the park when the river floods. Perhaps you might recognize the green plastic Tug Boat or the “Hulk Hand” also found in the green section? They have appeared in other posts in my riverblog.
I hung out by this piece and the river for many hours. A few people came by, but nobody said anything. Perhaps this comes across as being an example of “unusual or eccentric behavior” to some people? Best to provide a wide berth around this one! Who knows…couldn’t be any stranger than the people who make all this plastic and set it free into the world. At the end of the day, I could not make up my mind which I thought provided the definitive view of this project? I think some of the more successful arrangements look good in their contexts, but also provide some information on what individual elements have been brought together to create this “whole” experience. After I felt I had enough pictures and the thought of a shower was sounding good. I picked up my stuff and headed home.
The trees are just budding out and this past week took a significant turn towards the green. I’m still on the lookout for migrating birds that come into our area. I often wonder about the Heisenberg’s Hammerkopf I had the distinct pleasure of observing and photographing out here a few weeks a go. I wonder where in the world it flew off to? I was just alerted by WordPress that this week is my seventh anniversary of blogging with them! For all the people who have dropped by and sampled something from the Falls of the Ohio State Park through this riverblog…I give my heartfelt thanks! I hope to continue out here for a bit longer still. This is the Artist at Exit 0 signing off for now.