Mark's stacked wood skills are methodical, aesthetically pleasing and efficient --
Like a gathering of ideas and words that structure an informative sentence --
3 large wood stacks behind the chicken coop offer raw material to a library of concepts yet to be defined.
Verb, noun, pronoun and preposition, side-by-side with Hickory, White Oak, Red Oak and a quantity of unknowns. Each cylinder stacked thoughtfully with a neighboring amputee according to species, circumference and age of the felled. An artist gathers her ideas from a collection among a thousand parts making her way to the studio in reverence for the dead.
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 2:27:00 PM
On foot one often hears the rustle of dead leaves and fallen branches making you think someone or at least some large Thing is walking along side of you --- thankfully, only squirrels. Passing the corral and towards the work shop follow the curving worn path and you'll find It, the Sentinel that I believe guards the upper fields, looming ageless wisdom quite heroically.
The Sentinel, remnants of a long time passed, is the only thing that is erect in your immediate line of vision of where a family once called "home." Exploring, you'll find the well, numbers of fallen bricks and broken rock, allot of over grown brush. What I think of is the liminal space into this dreamlike field -- Dorothy lands in Oz and opens her bedroom door into full techno color -- look down and you'll find someone has made a simple symbol of a bow and arrow in cement and stone, studded by stone arrow heads of various shapes and sizes. What I thought was a hoax and indeed I questioned Mark on this -- wondering if he and his buddies possibly had enough time on their hands to sit around and whittle out arrow heads, planting them on the property for wanderers like me to find. No, it all turns out to be truth. The stone tablet came with the purchase of the acreage in spring of 2004. What he has been told and recited to me, "after a freshly tilled field, walk it slowly keeping your eyes peeled. Arrow heads are so numerous in these parts, you're sure to find one -- this is the land of the Osage."
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 11:49:00 AM
Approximately one mile long, the lane towards the Gasconade River that should really be referred to as "The Lane," is punctuated with infinite stops and starts. To the right, a wanderer comes upon the cow feeding pasture where a total of five new calves have been born within my visit. Passing "the Girls" (yes, an emphasis on the G) the Boys (same hard B) are met with wide eyed curiosity. The leader of this posse is "Director." At nearing 2,000 pounds I wouldn't question his dictatorship, no way, no how. Two mares graze in the field along side of the fellows, both chestnuts with a wide white blaze that runs evenly down their muzzles. One raises her head to greet your face and strolls towards the barbed wire to meet you. It's pretty obvious that she has been conditioned to react this way as soon as she sees someone upright on two feet. On my first day passing, and as if on que, she sauntered her way over to what I thought was a warm welcome. Me, not introduced to "the system" (her system) she came to the fence not for me "but the carrot, any carrot would due, or yes, a sugar cube or two, too." Emptied handed, she blinked two sorrowful big eyes towards my direction and sauntered silently away. From then on I always come prepared with something in hand or pocket only to remain in decent standings with the gal. Directly behind the barn is THE tree, a Sycamore. It spreads its branches like an 18th c. anatomical drawing, illustrating all the fissures and neurotransmitters of a finally tuned nervous system. I think of it as The Snow Leopard and although not winter nor any snow around, the tree contrasts so sharply with the blue sky it seems strangely out of place, it might as well be with daffodils blooming alongside. Upon passing it you swear you can hear it quiver and shake.
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 11:45:00 AM
This place, this place of wonder.
This place, this place of solitude, history and peace.
This place of creativity and force, of simplicity and extraordinaire.
This place where the Belted Galloways Mark calls "Oreoes" and I "Pandas"
solemnly eat tufts of grass and brush 24/7.
This place floats, and I remain buoyant.
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 11:38:00 AM
DAY 3 03.11.09
Spring has come to me magnificently twice, the first time in SC and now here in Belle MO.
The lady bugs are growing by leaps and bounds and I swear they’re moving my drawing pads around with the honest to goodness power of a vintage VW beetle -- red of course. I’ve spent today trying to rescue them – but they’re breeders at regular intervals on a shiny new Spring clock. Last night I heard coyotes howling to one and other, or maybe, to the moon. So here I am – a little late in posting this journal entry (as it’s really day nine) I've got a 900' studio with great natural light, full kitchen (including trash compressor - which I'm now a great believer in to reduce one's carbon foot print), washer, dryer, loads of cows and about 155 acres of walking woods with all the smells and sounds in full force – it’s spring here on Route D – forsythia are bursting out like fresh flames throughout a winter’s gray forest. A river runs through the property too --- and one can't help but be reminded of the movie. I've got lots of work to do and ideas to produce – one can’t help but allow the universe to be held in close suspension hovering overhead.
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 11:35:00 AM
DAY 2 03.10.09
Mark took me around in his 4 wheel drive RAMMY RAM which moved through low brush and across muddy rivets like a great African gray elephant, pushing saplings and thick brush aside effortlessly. The 6,000 sq. ft work shop contains pretty much any tool a girl like me would want (both hand and power), old cars and motorcycles under a restorer’s watchful eye. The shop is currently being shared with 32 little chicks, tucked safely in a refrigerator box on its side with heat lamp, water and feed. They’ll eventually be moved to the hen house to produce for their keep >> for artists like me to delight in fresh eggs for breakfast. Contrasts like these are endless here, that is, if you’re paying close enough attention. It all comes so naturally – with this great farm two hours west of Saint Louis – but you might as well be in Kansas with Aunty Em, Dorothy and Toto too.
DAY 1 . 03.09.09
After close to 1,000 miles on the road --- which was a pleasant and comfy ride (albeit the last 2 hours when I became a bit stir crazy) - I make my way around the residence house with ease and in comfort. The place is really in the country where the cows are my friends, besides Mark and Catherine, co-directors of Osage Artist Community. The plan for OAC is simple one: provide space and living, food, peace and supportive comfort for artists (visual, writers, and musicians) to come, explore, be thoughtful and work. It is really, really a special place. OAC is fully invested in all artists that pass through their doors as well as those out there working in the world at large.
entrance way to the Ohio River . Paducah KY
3 hours away from Belle MO I drove directly through the city of Paducah KY that is often advertised in Art in America as a place that affords inexpensive spaces with Artist Relocation Program offering incentives to artists to relocate to the historical Downtown area. I've always been curious, so naturally made the stop for coffee in a downtown cafe.
Upon viewing Picasso's LAS MENINAS side by side with Velazquez and other works that led the ground work for it, I was struck by the concept of the mirror -- a reflection that holds still a cropped image of the world. Like the Albertian window of the Renaissance that acts as if a frame, the mirror too spreads towards us incorporating us in it's grasp. A mirror removes reality from one location and places it quite swiftly into another. A mirror collapses space into itself, pressing that which is reflected upon its surface firmly into a concave space - all the while actual space spreads outward convexly from it. A mirror is a doubling of reality -- the face being reflected is also the face that is looking at it. One can't help but be reminded of photography and some of the essays of John Berger.
LAS MENINAS "The entire picture looks out onto the scene for which it is itself a scene." Michel Foucault 1966 -- a mirror does just that - separating one scene from thousands of others --
action is now static
memorializing itself forever
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 7:53:00 AM
, A SOLAINA
Foundacion SOLAINA DE PILOÑO dir. Paco Lareo in one gallery at Museo Ramon Maria Aller in Lalin, Galicia, Spain where the Solaina residents 2008 will exhibit their work in IX Xuntanza Obradoiro International Exhibition
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 7:45:00 AM
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 6:09:00 AM
many a full day spent within these walls that once held goats and cattle - our make shift studio prepared by Anna Galvez from Valencia, Octavio Cabral from Brazil + myself brought us closely together speaking different languages with common passion
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 5:47:00 AM
bedroom window view @
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 5:41:00 AM
s c r e e n of m e m o r y
wandering, wandering still --
memory serves us in bits and pieces
shards of broken pottery strewn in a field
Being present in the world of experiences I am reminded of Asai Ryoi's writing -- "Tales of the Floating World" c. 1965
"... to live only for the moment, surrender your body and soul to contemplating the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaf... to not allow poverty to drag you down and show in your face, but to drift like a pumpkin floating in the river -- this is what we call Ukiyo-E."
with journal perched on my lap on route JUL 12 by train north west from Barcelona to Galicia 8:00PM -- a 16 hour adventure shared with a troupe of Flamenco musicians in a neighboring car > a lightening storm sparks one of the engines into disrepair blowing out a transformer in Tarragonia keeping us stranded 5-6 hours in the dark > the locals refered to this calmy as an "incident."
Mosaic title collection retrieved under foot from the Mediterranean Sea by my dear artist friend Jose Vanegas, whom I had worked side by side @ Sculpture Space 1997 and once again in his city of Barcelona Spain - July 2008
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 4:19:00 AM
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 3:58:00 AM
Posted by JEN PEPPER at 3:15:00 AM
"... to live only for the moment, surrender your body and soul to contemplating the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaf... to not allow poverty to drag you down and show in your face, but to drift like a pumpkin floating in the river -- this is what we call Ukiyo-E."Upon my second evening shared with cherished friends Jose + Cruz in Barcelona, we walked to Antoni Guadi's Casa Mila La Pedrera where Jose had only weeks earlier installed one of the most exciting 17th - 19th c. Japanese print collections I had ever witnessed. Ryoi's wall text resonated so thoroughly with me -- for I was just about to embark on my first research project of my sabbatical, only one month following the death of my mother.