Walking a-Long, 2009
Exhibition: Foster Gallery at Noble and Greenough School, Dedham, MA
This painting installation is simultaneously an homage to and commentary on the 1969 piece A Line Made by Walking by artist Richard Long. The work also includes the largescale installation Broken-Line that was also created for the space. This exhibition was the first stage of an on-going project.
Richard Long’s A Line Made by Walking exposed the origins of different bodily and temporal practices within art disciplines. The performative aspect of drawing, printmaking, painting, and sculpture, were recorded by the photographic documentation of Richard Long’s repetitive walk. A Line Made by Walking addresses time and space as creative tools in the making of the artwork. My first encounter with Long’s piece came many years ago when I was an art student. In addition to my excitement about how smart and poetic the piece was, I wondered about my position as its viewer. Authorship appeared exclusively reserved to the author as I, a viewer, was left completely outside the piece’s resolution. Was the written documentation of the performance enough of a participatory action to allow for physical presence to be part of the constitution of the piece? Some of these questions opened up the possibility of exploring this piece through a completely discarded mode for the materialization of ideas in Land Art as well as art in the post-studio era. I decided to make a comment on Long’s A Line Made by Walking through painting and simulation.
In Walking a-Long I attempted to materialize these questions, explore possible solutions,
and use some humor in my response to Richard Long’s A Line Made by Walking.
The piece involved the creation of ninety-nine 2’x 2’ oil paintings that covered an extended area of the gallery floor and accumulated as towers in some areas. Each of the paintings was a straightforward representation of grass painted in an obsessive, labor-intensive manner. Some of them accumulated in small towers, groupings that exposed the constructive process of the images and their material quality, as well as showcased in a more evident manner the labor involved in the production of the pieces through a sort of survey on painting’s mark-making devices.
In the show, visitors were invited to walk the straight line that separated the main sections of the piece bringing it into completion with their presence and action. After this first manifestation of Walking a-Long, I kept creating more grass paintings without knowing exactly where the piece was headed. Something about the viral quality of the piece in relation to its labor intensive and obsessive nature proved extremely seductive. The notion of landscape and its artificiality appeared as a core element in the development of Walking a-Long’s extension, Growth.