Corvus, one of five installations in Virga: The Hunt for Water
Coconino Center for the Arts, Flagstaff, AZ, 2013 | Back to Virga Main Page
Materials: filament, pine pollen, crow specimen, steel plate
The story of the Greek god Apollo’s anger at the white raven, and his transformation of the bird’s feathers from white to black is a symbolic visualization of the night’s darkness. It also celebrates the importance of darkness and that clearer visions can exist during the night.
In the fall of 2004, I created the installation Pioneer Spirit at Minnesota State University in Mankato. Mankato is the site of the largest mass execution of Native Americans in the history of the United States. For this installation, I hung 38 deer hides in a darkened gallery, each one directly below a light canister. Each hide had been branded with a heart-line symbol. Below each hide was a ceramic bowl filled with flour. Embedded in the flour was a print of a cottonwood leaf. The shadows created by the hides looked like a ravens soaring with their wings outstretched moving over the surface of the flour.
Perhaps, my work is best summarized by this quote from historian Anna Wiecking, “We don’t know very well yet how to live peacefully with our families, our neighbors, with people of other beliefs, or with other nations. We need pioneers to help with these problems. Today’s problems are the problems of living together. We need people who care deeply about the safety and happiness of others, and who will think hard how to help instead of how to hurt people.”
Each of us plays a role in the pioneer spirit. We are caught in a dilemma. How each of us act will determine the destiny and history of this republic.