39 CAST FEET OF A LOCAL INHABITANT • CAST IN LOCALLY SOURCED ADOBE, (SUN BAKED EARTH, CLAY AND GRASS)
This body of Earthworks started with my participation in a residency in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, set in 580 acres of grassland and deep redwood filled valleys, overlooking a state park and the Pacific Ocean.
My response to this vast, humbling and sublime landscape was to think in terms of making transient sculptural interventions that had minimal impact upon the land and would soon be reabsorbed, rather than attempt to make a permanent statement. I have tried to explore our relationship to The Earth making use of the landscape as material and subject.
Looking for material possibilities in the landscape I settled on the use of adobe. Adobe building by hand has been used for housing by certain American Indian cultures since prehistory. The casting of sun baked adobe bricks using moulds is thought to have been introduced by the early Spanish settlers. From the locally sourced clay and grasses I developed a method of casting sun-baked adobe forms.
For some time I have been drawn to the quote from Heraclitus ‘You cannot step in the same river twice’. In response to this I cast 39 replicas of the feet of the groundsman at the residency, whose family have been in San Mateo County since the mid 1800’s, I arranged them on an old logging trail through a creek, and left them to be consumed by natural processes.