Common Names is a site specific sculpture made of approximately 150 beach stones wrapped in paper, and installed near a grove of sea grasses on the beach at Bumpkin Island. The paper was wet before applying to the stones, and as it dried in the sun it took on the contours and shape of the stones. After drying, I wrote a name on each rock in graphite. The names were a combination of common names, and names of people I know.
Volunteers helped wrap the rocks, and also helped to generate name ideas. The conversation about names and naming is an evokative, personal, specific one that even strangers can easily become engrossed in. Each name and each stone seems to be for one person, and for every person.
The stones with their names nestled at the edge of the sea grasses seem vulnerable and protected at once. They are visible from far away because of their color, but their shapes and contours match that of all the stones on the beach.
Common Names is about the strange dual sense of self that we have as human beings. On one hand we have a profound sense of individuality and private selfhood, and on the other hand, most of what we call our identity; our DNA, our bodies, our perception, our basic human needs, almost our entire identity, is shared with every member of humanity.
Verses is an ongoing work in which prose verses that I composed are written in a stylized text, on long paper banners, and applied to the ground in areas of the landscape that are intended as views or lookout points. The banners are tilted and appear like a subtitle to the view. The two texts that I applied at two key lookout points at Bumpkin Island are the following
“Everything will be fine, your struggle, and the fighting of your mind, the pitching motions of your experience.”
“The sky will take on a yellow cast, once this cast has grown into morning, let the light of that morning fall on your hands, keep them still until the light changes.”
Verses shares something with Common Names. While the texts seem to talk directly to the individual reader, they also talk to every reader. I intend for them to touch the reader’s private sense of selfhood and also their sense of self as an archetype in a broad humanity. They are like bible verses in that way, speaking to the individual and the archetypal reader at once. But unlike Bible verses they ask the reader to rely on him or herself and on this world for strength and solace, instead of asking them to look outside of themself to God or to the idea of Heaven.
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