black against blue sky

raven feather and stone on steel. photographs of sierra suvuk and raven printed on aluminum panel

25 cm x 54 cm

black against blue sky detail - click to enlarge

|object in private collection|

Cairn: a collection of stones placed along a trail whose direction is not obvious. A landmark constructed of rough stone and used for hunting or ceremonial purposes. A trail shrine.


The list of travelers to the Sierra Pinacate before Julian is pretty short: Padre Kino, Hornaday and Macdougal, Sykes, Lumholtz, Ives. These were the geographers, the botanists, anthropologists, geologists and archaeologists. Nearly all Tucsonans, these careful observers left in their wake a luminous trail of words for us to follow; their books became well-placed cairns pointing the way: ‘Campsites on Desert and Lava’, ‘New Trails in Mexico’, ‘Land of Lava, Ash and Sand’, ‘The Sierra Pinacate’.

Following Julian, the list of travelers is rather long. After all those years, Julian’s carryall must have worn a deep and easily followed groove towards the sea — Tucsonans have been trickling down to the base of the black mountain ever since: Larry Mays, Ed Abbey, Jack Dykinga, Charles Bowden, Ray Turner, Bill Broyles, Ann Woodin, Gale Hartman, Dianne Boyer  — scientists, writers, curmudgeons, artists and dedicated desert rats who were compelled to leave various cairns of their own.

I too see my objects as cairns. They are artifacts left along the trail between here and there. Simple shrines of stone, steel and bone. Poems of place and time.

This object was on display @ Tohono Chul Park in the exhibit :: Metal, Stone & Wood in Tucson, Arizona from June 1, until September 1, 2013

This object was included in my solo exhibition :: chasing julian at the WEE Gallery in Tucson, Arizona, February 2013.

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