for lucy and yard sale
Presented by: Roberto Ventura and Joshua Poteat
We dismiss edges because they exist unnamed. Unlabeled, places and people recede from consciousness. This installation celebrates these edges, teeming with life, value and passion.
The collaborators, a poet and a designer, participated in a gallery show featuring works conceived by four pairs of artists and writers. The resulting installation,“for lucy and yard sale,” explores the edge between place and placelessness.
Memory and landscape factor largely in our work. Both notions embody complex systems of visible and invisible factors, influences and echoes.
In "Illustrating the Construction of Railroads," the poet considers the edge, the undefined areas linking what we recognize as places:
...Call it a collective, a stir, the animate heart severed away and the life it assembles riding along the potato rows.
The gallery is situated on the campus of a small college located in a quaint and picturesque railroad town. The town draws its identity from the trains that run multiple times daily down the center of its Main Street.
The collaborators began working to link this poem and the charming town, but soon a local news story jarred the process. A romance between an unlikely pair of freight-train-hopping adventurers, Lucy and Yard Sale, ended tragically in an immense but largely unseen rail yard in a nearby city. The tragedy of their love affair, existing outside established society, articulated the essence of the project: the beauty of the edge.
The installation celebrates the ambiguity, contradiction, and beauty found in and on the edge. We dismiss the edge because it exists unnamed. Without labels, places and people recede from consciousness. However, the spaces between places teem with life. These stories and landscapes contribute value and passion to our community despite their lack of definition.
The collaborators developed a mixed-media collage across a 4’x8’ sheet of plywood. Using photocopy toner, watercolors, diluted latex, colored pencils, graphite, and trace paper color prints, they merged text and imagery recalling flight, freedom, life, love and death in ambiguous and undefined ways, inviting the viewer to independently connect the signs and symbols and encouraging multiple readings.
Next, fabricators used CNC routing to mill the poem onto the collage before slicing it into rails of predetermined thicknesses.
The rails were composed across a surface of the gallery. Violating its original 4’x8’ boundaries, the piece transformed from an object into a field, extending its edge and blurring its definition. Drawn deliberately and noticeably on the gallery surface, markings and guides add a layer of texture behind the rails.
Six lightboxes served as compositional counterweights, creating places within the undefined field through contrast of color, material, form and light.
The viewer reconstructed the elements in individual and malleable ways. The prominence of the edge trumps the definition of the object.
Finally, the collaborators sold the installation not as a whole but piecemeal. To make the artwork accessible to many, the team priced individual elements between $15 to $75, and donated 100% of the sales to a local charity serving the homeless. Installation pieces found homes spanning across the Mid-Atlantic to the Mountain West, as do the railroads that inspired the work.