The Rain Follows the Plow, gets its title from a quote by Charles Dana Wilber. It summarizes the 19th century belief that if one were to plant crops in any climate, even a desert climate, the land would automatically adapt to water them. It doesn’t— but in this one little phrase Wilber managed to unwittingly capture the naiveté of the era. While this idea is now understood as misguided and romantically cavalier we still live in a world that assumes mastery of things much larger than ourselves.

The images of the west during the Great Depression are complicated and multi-layered in the American psyche. It was a time when the American Dream seemed to be blown apart and replaced with a never-ending storm of sand and suffering. During my time in Roswell I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the current economic downturn and the 1930s. Situated on the edge of the Dustbowl, the often-harsh realities of the Roswell climate conjured associations that deeply informed both the individual pieces and overall concept of this show.

In these works miniature vignettes sprout optimistically out of nothing and depict clever adaptations required to live in a frontier town.  A dust storm has been isolated into only sight and sound, packaging its torment into a slick and polite package. Remnants of military equipment from past conflicts unearthed from the hard packed soil reveal a mixture of terrifying power and quiet patience. A juxtaposition of old and new, cold and warm, prickly and smooth…

Today, armed with technology and perseverance, alien spotters, pecan farmers, and strip malls push back against the harsh climate and find a way to make it all work. And I find that American optimism oddly cheering.

Trust me, this will work . 2011 . tumbleweeds, aluminum, hardware

Dustbowl . 2011 . 33RPM record, acrylic, glass, electronics, sugar. Recordings of the wind in Roswell opposite a silent dust storm trapped within a glass dome

Being Without Becoming . 2011 . AC unit, steel, Knoll pedestal base. Heating and cooling the same air again and again.

Patience . 2011 . WW2 bomb, stethoscope, silicone, plastic, arduino, electronics. Wearing the stethoscope one can faintly hear the Skip James song 'Hard Time Killing Floor Blues' coming from inside the bomb.

Making Do (Propane BBQ) . 2011 . Plastic, wood, gypsum, metal

Making Do (V8 Hot Tub) . 2011 . Wood, metal, plastic, stone, gypsum