Week 11 Conversation: Artist Interview (Patricia Rangel) REBUILDING

REBUILDING: by Patricia E. Rangel

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One of last week’s exhibits is titled “Rebuilding” and was located in the Werby Gallery. I’ll have to admit that the first thing I noticed was a pile of dirt on the floor, and that immediately drew my attention, as it seemed somewhat out of place. The inspiration for this particular gallery was the artist’s interest in particular stages of the agricultural practices. This includes how plants are watered, picked, burned, and replanted. The artist has also created curiosity from how particular practices are used to promote more growth, such as trellises, insulated fabric covers, and mesh. I noticed that most of the words present are comprised of mainly two materials: either metal or dirt. Although dirt is seen as something with negative connotations similar to the word ‘unclean’, I found it fascinating that dirt could ever be utilized as an art material. The more I ponder about the representation of dirt in these art works, I find more understanding. In an agricultural sense, dirt enables growth and helps promote it. There is a lot of potential and life that comes from dirt, an important element of the earth. It is noted that most of the art work comprises of compacted dirt that is shaped into different forms. Another interesting fact is that the artist collected the materials from places of personal significance, such as her grandfather’s ranch and her parent’s backyard.

The piece that caught my attention is titled, “A Racehorse That Has Never Won A Race”. The materials used was brass, steel, 14k gold, and dirt from Smith Mountain cemetery. The chain’s links each represent a baby buried, and the gold link represented the artist’s sister, Corine, who died 8 days after her birth. The links are also shaped to mimic the shape of the parameter of the cemetery. I found that this particular art piece is probably representative of the potential that was symbolized earlier, but only lost potential.

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