New Works by Chris Collins
Opening Reception Friday, March 13th from 5-8pm
Show runs through Saturday, April 11th 2015
Means to an End is a body of work that explores what we leave behind in the endless quest for energy. The objects presented range from gasoline cans with gold gilded interiors to aging tree stumps whitewashed in lime. These objects serve as placeholders of exhausted resources.
An appetite for energy resources has defined the colonial history of the desert southwest. Along with westward settlement came a need for wood for heat and shelter, coal for railroad and steel, and oil and gas for power and transportation. While villages and towns may boom and bust, the evidence of them remains.
This work started with the collection of found materials all originating in the Caja del Rio, a desert region West of Santa Fe, New Mexico. This land has been utilized over many centuries for its energy resources from food to fuel. Over the past few hundred years, this area has been over harvested of lumber, and over grazed by cattle ranching. Once much more densely forested, now large areas of desert grassland remain, with a sporadic stump and perhaps a beverage or sardine can from the individual who felled the tree.
The stumps collected range from pinion cut in the last decade, to cedars cut with an axe before the era of chainsaws. These are coated in whitewash, which consists of lime, a product of limestone. Whitewash is used to preserve wood from deterioration. To whitewash is meant to obscure an underlying dirty truth. To be whitewashed could also refer to assimilation to a dominant white culture. Whitewash in all of its contexts applies in this instance. Removed from the earth, the whitewashed stumps take on a skeletal and ghostly appearance. Once into a grid, they also begin to reference gravestones.
An assortment of food and beverage cans, buckets, and gas containers are also used in this work. Some have been sacrificed to years of target practice, and others left carelessly after a hard day of labor. The interiors of these rusty objects have been gilded in precious metals. While it is obvious that these containers themselves are of little value, it is what these objects contained which was of use. The means to an end is the next food or drink from the container to enable another day of labor, or the fuel to drive engines further into the wilderness in search of wood for winter heat. This work re-presents objects of our use on our quest for energy.
(Detail) 2015. 4" x 14.25" x .5." Cast aluminum.
2015. Dimensions vary. Found objects, 23k gold leaf, silver leaf.
(Detail) 2015. Dimensions vary. Found objects, 23k gold leaf, silver leaf.
2015. Dimensions vary. Whitewashed wood.
2015. 4.5" x 2.75" x 2.75." Found object, silver leaf.
2015. Dimensions vary. Whitewashed tree stumps, 25 pieces.