on straw and urban haystacks

haystacks and straw have been finding their way into work lately. symbolically, iconically. these things have crept onto the work of their own accord, without any overt effort on my part.  when i think about hay and straw, two things stand out as significant. first, i think of haystacks as places where things can be hidden or lost- concealment that differs depending on intention.  i think of them as places where secrets convene and rest. lovers, treasure, letters, needles. secondly i think about them in terms of economy- what they say about the relative plenty afforded to some and the gleaned leftovers left to others. and that they are made, literally, from nourishment - reflections of good farming or a land exalted, and gold in color - affirm that they are a symbol of both safety and fear.

they are physical representations of enough. they are labor intensive to make (both to draw and to construct): an energy and engine of line making (pencil lines, or the gestures of arms heaving forkfuls over and over). and though they do not feed any one creature per se, they are nevertheless powerful in their own squat ways,  in their abilities to act as landmarks or monoliths. to signal a pause. a coda. and of course, as often happens, i wonder what our modern equivalent of a haystack is, as few of us pass haystacks on our daily comings and goings.

there are enough signifiers for enough seemingly everywhere we look - litter, food waste, enormous bodies. but the kind of enough i mean isn't so much about having an abundance of meaningful objects - electronics or fancy cars or designer handbags - it's more bare than that. simpler. i was thinking about something that existed in heaps, and rotted quietly. something that reflected the pristine ideal we all have about what enough might look like if it were given form and substance. maybe white, gleaming, heaped. and so... Urban Haystacks.

 

 once white. 

once white. 

 once plentiful

once plentiful

 now a nuisance, and sometimes call for despair.

now a nuisance, and sometimes call for despair.