The Potential in Everything

Go visit Al’s Show! Yes, now! Go have some fun! ūüôā

Artist at Exit 0 Riverblog

Carnegie Center for Art and History facade, New Albany, IN, Jan. 2014

On January 24 our long-awaited exhibition at the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana opened with a big reception. ¬†I say ‚Äúour‚ÄĚ because this is a two person show featuring work by R. Michael Wimmer and yours truly. ¬†The exhibition in entitled ‚ÄúThe Potential in Everything‚ÄĚ because both Michael and I utilize a diversity of materials to make our art. ¬†While I depend on what I find at the river, Michael goes much further afield to locate objects that project a certain ‚Äúaura‚ÄĚ and associative power for him. ¬†Following are some images from the exhibition which will be up until April 5.

My sculptures just delivered, Jan. 2014

I brought about 25 pieces that I had saved from the river and park visitors.  I have gotten into the habit of keeping some of my better creations for events like this.  It’s such a big leap first seeing the work at the river…

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Shadows On the Gulf by Rowan Jacobsen — The biggest, baddest monster in the world swamp is–US. Hell, we all knew that, right?

¬† “Today, we tell Congress that we ‘sacrificed’ ourselves¬†for the national good,” Oliver Houck¬†wrote in the Tulane¬†Environmental Law Journal. “Never has there been such a willing, complicit sacrifice. We made a bundle of money, wasted most of it, and blackballed anyone who questioned what it was doing to the Louisiana coast. About 70 years ago, Louisiana made a deal with the oil and gas industry. The industry would get what it wanted; the state would get a piece of the take.”

Ah yes, you all know the drill–find a writer whose voice, intelligence,¬†and style you enjoy in one book then go out and see if they’re consistent enough writers to¬†work their word magic on your¬†imagination AGAIN.¬† Having enjoyed¬†the horror story that is Fruitless Fall, o yes it is a modern version of a¬†very very¬†scary story,¬†I¬†was game for more of¬†Rowan Jacobsen’s work.¬†¬†I decided to venture to¬†the great¬†ghostly delta of the mighty Mississippi¬†via Shadows On the Gulf, A Journey Through Our Last Great Wetland.¬†¬†If you’re fans of Jacobsen’s A Geography of Oysters¬†don’t fret–the¬†agony and ecstasy of¬†gulf oysters is¬†part of Shadows.¬†It couldn’t be¬†otherwise.¬† Now if you’re looking for an intense screenplay like¬† blow-by-blow¬†of events in slow motion about the Deepwater Horizon go¬†search elsewhere. Jacobsen provides a sequence of¬†such events but, unlike several other¬†slick tomes,¬†this is not the foundation of¬†this book. If you’re looking for where to lay blame¬†for¬†oily events in the Gulf look no further than your mirror.¬†¬†Yes, you read correctly–the¬†nearest mirror.¬† Jacobsen¬†does not flinch at laying¬†blame for the¬†ongoing insanity of the oil industry smack¬†dab on those who¬†fuel the DEMAND for oil every single day.¬† This is a basic principle of supply and demand¬†economics–really. ¬†We create the demand for more oil by our lifestyles, especially in the United States, and the oil industry profits, literally, by providing the supply. Face it, in general¬†we are a bunch of hardcore oil¬†addicts with no 12 step program on the boards.

Now don’t get me wrong, Jacobsen raises this very important ethical issue but that’s not all he does as he provides some fundamental history about the Gulf area. We get a history of a prominent¬†oyster supplier, the workings of the huge Mississippi¬†River as the garbage dump of the midwest of America, the levees, the oil industry, the wetlands and the people.¬† Now the element of ‘people’ is the real wild card in play here. Perhaps the major issue here, as in Fruitless Fall, is that people indoctrinated¬†with western European (yes, that is the origin of our¬†mode of thinking in the states)¬†mentality just can’t leave well enough ALONE. People have this nutty idea that¬†humans are capable of improving on the complex perfection of Nature.¬†We do this with every dam we build, every river we divert, every wetland we destroy. Ah the poor¬†Army Corps of Engineers–sorry folks,¬†at least beavers know what the hell they’re really doing when they build dams–and more importantly ‘why’. ¬†¬†Guess what we get in return? The destruction of the very system upon which we are dependent for survival of¬†our species.¬† If we just let Nature be¬†itself and operate¬†correctly¬†and lived in accord with how the system works –well, we might not be facing the¬†operating system¬†crisis heading our way like a tsunami of incredible magnitude.

If you don’t have any idea about the¬†BIG picture regarding the¬†Gulf¬†of Mexico–and how¬†the rest of America ties in–¬†then Jacobsen’s book¬†provides a very¬†decent foundation for getting¬†an idea of the interconnectedness of many things–including¬†all the crap chemicals¬†used to scrub toilets every day. The¬†destruction of your environment is not out of sight and out of your¬†mind. It’s just out of mind because we don’t pay any attention to the things¬†in plain sight–such as every petroleum product–and the products that ‘clean’¬†all that oily stuff¬†down the drain.

The other¬†thing in¬†plain sight is “us” in all our incarnations.¬†You’ll meet a few folks via¬†Jacobsen’s¬†explorations of the¬†gulf area–locals, scientists, fisherman, etc. And it’s a very mixed big of individuals for sure. I don’t know how the likes of Virgil¬†Dardar¬†and Gene Cossey would mix¬†on the same boat. But I do¬†know what a vast swamp of thinking¬†exists that allows for the existence of¬†such men and women¬†— and the mentality¬†of oil executives and politicians all on the lookout for the almighty DOLLAR.

Near the end of the book, “The Most Important River You’ve Never¬†Heard¬†Of,” ¬†Jacobsen takes us to a wonderful still functioning wetland area-the Atchafalaya swamp-and leaves us¬†with¬†not the¬†“if”¬†but the “when” it will be¬†destroyed by us in our infinite ignorance, boundless greed and¬†shortsighted view that humans dominate Nature.¬† We will not have the last laugh in this global¬†drama in which we deny our own role in the¬†web of life on¬†Earth. So read and think about what sort of¬†lifestyle can you imagine that might¬†benefit all living things. Come on, stretch¬†your cranial membranes–if you dare. ¬†Imagine Life without Oil.

More¬†about Rowan Jacobsen’s¬†books: ¬†

navajotruth’s Stop SB 2109 Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012

Video by navajotruth

Seems it could be a long and very HOT summer in the land of the Dine and Hopi–and I’m not talking about solar heat.¬†¬†¬†Sorry no sheep or plastic water bottle math lessons in this video.¬† Just a full body reality check. When’s the last time your grandparents protested?


A cat-ing we shall go….

Cat-tails @eva wojcik

Yasutomo Sumi-E watercolors , 140lb  cold press Strathmore

original¬†6″ x 18″

Oh a cat-ing we shall go. A cat-ing we shall go.

Tails swinging high, a cat-ing we do go.

For Leslie.

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