Afternoon Dust

writing

Jack Lavender and Joanne Masding

Joanne Masding - Plaster Ghost Finger Cast, irregular white plast sculptures on the walls and floor of a gallery space

Jack Lavender’s solo exhibition ‘Stones’ at Recent Activity’s delightfully awkward, misshapen space consists of a number of wall drawings in rich, earthy colours. Apart from the bones outlined on the side of the raised ‘stage’, the drawings consist of odd, irregular shapes and lines, as if more regular shapes had somehow been squeezed, squashed, and deformed by subsidence, tectonic plate movement, or the pressure of an ever-growing stratigraphy of sediments. In the context of the space, the drawings mirror the roughness and irregularity of the décor and architecture; forget about the context, and you’re no longer sure whether what you’re seeing is decades old, millennia old, or brand new.

tucson

A friend recently asked me to dig something out of my archive for him, but somewhere amidst the years’ multiple computer and OS changes the fragment of writing he was looking for seems to have vanished. I did manage to find the following poem, which struck me as seeming particularly resonant in these uncertain days, hence the posting:

tuscon

We tread carefully, dust clinging
to our feet; the clicking
of latches.
Thoughts unpacking themselves.

Where we go there are no
footprints, only inverted shadows:

we can’t pronounce
the name of our country,
the nation to which
we belong.

The sun charts our progress
with her sextant.
Windows open and close,
their frames glistening
like the surface of a lake
seen from below.