Station to Station

Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art
Cleveland, OH
in conjunction with Material Witness Exhibition
January 2004

In Memory and Celebration of Ms. Florence Wilma McCoy
"aint no quit in her"

This project was composed and built on location for Cleveland MOCA in conjunction with the Material Witness Exhibition. The histories embedded within the Northern Ohio landscape have been topics within my work consistently over the years that I've lived in this region. With this piece, as with others before, I am imagining that elements standing within the contemporary landscape contain the memory of past events. "Stations" is composed of an invented straw barn that stands witness to the unspoken interior experience of a spirit in flight upon the Underground Railroad.

Materials include: eighty bales of local straw stacked and pinned to construct walls framed by post and beam structure (old oak beams recovered from barns in the area surrounding Oberlin, Ohio) and capped with recovered rusted tin.  The interior of the structure is quite dim w/ the only source of light emitted through a stretched muslin ceiling-the floor is composed of wooden planks framing a closed trap door.  Additional materials include a birdhouse standing upon a post,  cradling my great uncle’s gold watch nested inside:  time set to one minute before midnight ("the first moment of the new day").

Not pictured: the smell of dry leaves and fresh straw, the sound of birds, water, an unseen human presence: a slow heartbeat, breath, footsteps in water-hounds on the chase, silence, an approaching helicopter…

"Stations" is composed as both an homage to, and prayer for my mother.  Throughout my life, she demonstrated a depth of spirit and vision and resilience and unimaginable strength.  She is a guiding light.