large landscapes, small signs

Drive in near Clayton, New Mexico. 1996Rural isolation is at the heart of Rosalie Gascoigne's work in yesterday's post.  Yes, rural communities are lively and busy, but these are islands of intensity in a much wider landscape that receives little human attention except for the extraction of resources or the harvesting of crops.  Small details such as highway signs, fenceposts, billboards, here a drive-in, there a barn from an earlier farming era, small towns – such things are left in place where they eventually fall down, bit by bit. 

According to the biographical material available on Gascoigne, from the beginning her work was made from salvaged iron and steel, wire, wooden boxes, construction debris: the detritus of rural occupation.  This is not the rubbish from aboriginal occupation which is in an entirely different realm, but rather the cast-offs of the struggle for settlers and farmers to bring an order to a huge landscape project. 

In the background of the old drive-in screen with its field of speaker posts is the armature of a centre-pivot irrigation system.  Its days are probably numbered as well.