A Portrait of Two Artists

March 31, 2015

On Saturday, her art appeared along the River Road walk from Clifton Terrace to Stanka Lane, twenty-one installations of found materials atop boulders and tree stumps and in the crooks of trees. Eighteen of the pieces stood alone. The other four nestled together, two and two, in family groups of mothers and children.

I know the artist is a woman. The few footprints I saw were slight. There was much leaning across on the balls of the tiny feet. The arrangements came from the imagination of a maternal soul. And it was all so so so so beautiful.

All the figures and shapes are fashioned of stacked pieces of limestone, a couple of stacks delicate and precarious, a mere three or four inches in height, others over a foot high, the slabs and pieces arranged geometrically to show us kneeling postures, and seeking and serenity and depth.

I have passed the exhibit three times now, each trip seeing new things, understanding new things. How is roundness achieved with angular limestone? She knows, the Artist of the Stone Gallery Exhibit Across from the Island and Below the White Birds.

I considered taking photographs, but these words are my photographs. I invite you to come. Call me and I will guide you.

Who is she? Do you know of an ephemeral woman who walks lightly on dainty feet? Who was brave, in that she constructed a masterpiece and knows it won’t last?

The other artist is actually a group of artists—though I doubt they know each other. They are of the JacksonPollackSchool. They drape found objects over roadsides and fields: beer cans, plastic bottles, McDonalds wrappers, cigarette butts, whiskey bottles, used Kleenex, empty lighters, milk cartons, coffee cups, and they place these things to form a universal message:

“Fuck you.”

And I got the message loud and clear. And I passed by their handiwork three times, on the way to the Artist of the Stone Gallery Exhibit Across from the Island and Below the White Birds. And I issue the same invitation to you, to come and visit this impressive display of our children’s art that they learned from us.

That they learned from us.

Two ways of self expression. Found art. Who is to say one is more profound than the other? Who is to say the gods love one more than the other? I cannot cast stones, or cans, or wrappers.

Not now, in this moonrise/sunset, when the peepers are singing joyfully, when the bats swoop before my window, when the nighthawks cry, when the figures of the Artist of the Stone Gallery Exhibit Across from the Island and Below the White Birds pray, and owlets huddle waiting for their mothers.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: eugenebaldwin.com. I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *