Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fish Explosion

I've gotten all into fishing this summer and now there's a pond in every other backyard where I didn't notice them before. And every other person seems to have the obsession.

Ann Torme is one of the Grande Dames of York. She owns a huge tract of land together with her brother down in Cuba...
Not THAT Cuba...Cuba, Alabama.
Ann was gracious enough to allow me the use of her freshwater pond loaded with Bass and Bream. But actually catching a fish is no match for the pleasure of casting a line in the quiet early morning...
...Well, no. Catching a fish is the best rush you'll ever have. So let's just say the whole package is great.

I have a couple of decent rods so I invited my good neighbor, Suzanne Hagood, to come along.

Suzanne is the current (soon to be former) Coordinator of the One Mile Garden . She's been in York for a year and is due to pass the torch come the end of July.

Her work here has been phenomenal. She transformed a dusty parking lot into a kind of Eden, overflowing with the best organic fruits, vegetables and herbs money can buy. Except it's all free.

The garden is a Collective effort. My Spring semester students added a bit of visual spice by creating this thematic Wall.

Each mold is individually sculpted in sand. We then mixed and cast the cement. Takes a few days to cure. The results are very cool.

The Garden Wall was part of a broader survey of Public Art. We also raided the nearest dumpster and transformed some choice junk with stencils and paint.

There's a few other completed Public Art projects I hope to install in the coming weeks. We'll make our mark on this town yet.
But back to the day's catch.

We caught only four Bass between us and they weren't that big. But they will do.
Suzanne whipped together a fine wine marinade using herbs and vegetables almost exclusively from the garden. Our finned friends will soak in it overnight.

I left a little treat out for the neighborhood dogs and cats.

We all thank the kind fish for their sacrifice.
Sounds jokey but I really mean that.

With my Summer Art students I wanted to focus on approaches to sculpture . We experimented a bit with varied materials and took a good look at Traditional and Modern Art.

These Tower constructions were inspired by Brancusi and West African Art. We painted them in a modernist style, creating a symbiotic tension between color and form.

Few things give me more happy joy joy than the presence of the Ward sisters in my class. Shon is the quiet, brainy middle sister and sweet as brown sugar.

She's also super focused with a subtle flair about her work.

Jaleah is third born. They call her "sassy". I call her a colorful and gifted wit. She slays me with her insightful humor. Jaleah sometimes has to miss class because her older sisters may determine that she's exhibiting too much "attitude".

But Jaleah is a model student and a total pleasure to work with. She's inquisitive and adventurous with an infectious positive energy. She dives into the challenge and everyone follows.

We created these assemblages in the style of 20th Century Master, Louise Nevelson.

Nevelson teaches us a lot about form and composition. It's also hard to fail when you're doing a Nevelson. There's a certain sophistication and elegance that comes with the territory.

This process of recycling and re-imagining found objects is extremely satisfying and fun for young students. They tend to make several of them in one session with much variation.

Down at Water Valley Lodge, July 4th is a very big deal. The Utsey's hire Bubba and his crew to prepare barbecue for about 300 people

They begin cooking a whole day in advance and continue all through the night, manning the massive grills in shifts. I popped in around 9pm and stayed up as late as I could, drinking beer and chomping on the occasional rib.

Bubba is some kind of genius. Whatever mysterious spices he rubs into the meat causes your DNA to grab your soul by the waist and do a spectral square dance with God and Einstein on banjo and fiddle.
In other words, Bubba's barbecue is outstanding.

Tip the dog gets it. He sits all night on the ground beneath the grills, catching and devouring frequently tossed scraps and bones.