January 2015

Revisiting Ghost Barn

ghost barn - carey jernigan and john haney - fieldwork 2014
ghost barn - carey jernigan and john haney - fieldwork 2014
ghost barn - carey jernigan and john haney - fieldwork 2014

- Submitted by Carey Jernigan (one of the makers of Ghost Barn, 2014)

A friend and I made our way to Fieldwork from Toronto last fall, driving northeast and watching the trees turn from green to yellow to red.  It was a grey, rainy day and quiet in the woods.  I was excited to see the sculptures installed five months earlier and curious to know how the weather had affected them.

We spent a long time sitting with Zone Vert's cones and spotted what might have been a chipmunk hole in the sawdust.  We walked up to Geoff Wonnacott's Knot and looked out on the field through the fallen foliage.  We checked in on Speaking Volumes' monolith of books and Wip-poor-will's oversized nest, both showing signs of decay and signs of life.

The installation I created in collaboration with John Haney - Ghost Barn (shown here), had insects and grass growing in it.  The rain made transparent, meandering lines on the surface of the barn.  It was interesting to see these marks of weather and time appear, since Fieldwork is the sculpture's first long stay outdoors.  I've started to see it as a creature developing a story:  a passage through place and now time leaving some things steady and others changed.

I'm remembering this now having returned from a month long residency in Porto, Portugal. Porto is an ancient city, with narrow streets winding up and down the rugged shoreline.  Partly because of Portugal's joining the European Union and several manufacturers leaving the city, most streets are dotted with abandoned buildings tucked in between those still in use.  All of them have ancient facades so it's not until stopping for a moment to look up that you notice which ones are empty: the shutters falling off a hinge or two, dried up houseplants on a balcony, a crack of sunlight showing through the roof, or some other side of decay.  That moment of discovery, delight, and also sadness looking up at an abandoned house reminded me a little of the moments we spent in the forest at Fieldwork scouring the sculptures for signs of the season, and looking up into the trees that I remembered in full bloom back in May.