The first shot is an overview of the whole installation; the two videos, which were made in collaboration with Billi London-Gray, the large painting on the wall and the sculpture on the floor. The top video is titled To Prohibit Strife and the bottom video is With Sure Clear Knowledge of What Happened. More about the videos to come later. But in the meantime, here's a link to the trailer for With Sure Clear Knowledge:
Daniel Bernard Gray
The Walls Had Doors and the Doors Were Open to Anyone With the Will and the Heart to Get Here, 2012
Alkyd enamel, Ironite fertilizer, Greensand fertilizer, diatomaceous earth, pollen, gunpowder, asphalt, cement, lacquer, silt, saltpeter, sulfur, eastern red cedar and cacti skeleton on panel and canvas, 78 x 126 x 10 inches
For those of you who don't know your inches that's 6.5 x 10.5 ft. And for those of you don't know inches or feet it's 198 x 320 x 25 cm.
Sculpture with painting in the background. The object on the panel opposite the creosote bush is the skeleton (actual term) of a prickly pear cactus. I collected it from a friends property in Marfa, TX. Marfa had a really hard freeze a year and a half ago that killed lots of cacti. In this example, the whole plant died, all at once from the freeze. The dry conditions of the desert left the skeleton of the plant perfectly in tact.
Daniel Bernard Gray
As a City Upon a Hill, 2012
Silt, cement, creosote bush and cacti skeleton on two panels
48 x 66 x 48 inches (122 x 168 x 122 cm)
The creosote bush emits a chemical out of its roots that kills or suppresses the growth of other plants, thus allowing it to keep all of the available resources to itself. I find this behavior to be powerfully symbolic.
Why is it set inside of a cement block? I believe that the cement links the bush to humanity in a way that wouldn't happen if the bush was simply placed on the horizontal surface. Humans make cement. Humans make things out of cement. The symbolic significance of the plant is thus linked to humanity.