We’ve been spending a lot of weekends camping in an area of Los Padres National Forest commonly called ‘The Indians’. I was really attracted to the rock formations here; some are eroded Swiss cheese-like caves and some are smooth sloping monstrous boulders covered in sprawling radial lichen formations but what also got my attention is the numerous mortar holes all over the rocks from native tribes who ground acorns in them. I loved coming across these deep circles ground into the rock, usually a 3 or 4 holes together and I imagined seeing women gathered on the rocks grinding their acorns. There’s something that connects the past to the present so directly when you can touch a space where someone else’s hands have worked. While working in the studio, these ideas kept stewing around and these are the results.
This past weekend, I brought about 40 pieces from this new series out to a large rock outcropping in this area of the forest for an In the Field photoshoot of them. I had an idea of what I wanted to compose, but I wasn’t sure if it would work with the curvature of the rock and the strength of the wind, especially since I’d only tested this composition on a flat table in my studio but luckily with a little patience it did work!
Conceptually, I’m still figuring out what these pieces are about and as I was building them, I was struggling to name them for that same reason. Aesthetically, their textures and shape tell me they definitely belong in this natural space. The symbology of circles are about wholeness, cyclical rhythms, and these shapes are ingrained in every fiber of our being. There is also a tension in this installation where each piece is balanced on the next but a security is found in that balance too. I realize that these are not complete thoughts but a work in progress as I get to know these new pieces.
I’ve decided to name this new series the Relic Series, which deviates from most of my series titles, but Relic seems right. Their concept will formulate into comprehensible sentences eventually and I’ll share my thoughts with you when that happens, but I hope in the meantime, you enjoy the installation images of the pieces. I’d love to hear what you think about this new series and stay tuned for more photos to come soon!