Friday, November 8, 2013
Opening today in the Cochenour Gallery at Noon is Christopher Saucedo's Red Cross Blankets.
This exhibition will be open from November 8th - November 29th; however, I encourage each of you to stop by and chat with Mr. Saucedo. Double bonus is that not only do you get to hear an amazing artist talk about his work but you can receive NEXUS credit. TRIPLE bonus, I made pumpkin hummus, and it's goooood!
Before Hurricane Katrina I was playing in our New Orleans backyard with my school-aged children in giant barrels full of water. We calculated each of our displaced volumes by carefully re-filling over-spilled barrels with gallon, quart and cup containers or water. I remember the kids tallying our ‘fluid volume’ on their playhouse chalkboard; we knew how many gallons, and quarts and cups each of us were. We compared results and laughed and stayed cool in the hot Louisiana summer. I measured in at just less than 29 gallons and my 8 and 9-year old children, who repeated the refreshing but non-exact experiment over and over again, were less than 10 gallons apiece. We all knew the empirical measure of gallons, quarts and cups and we had a personal relationship to each. I made sculpture about it and even a comic strip diagram of the experiment.
The August 2005 flood that followed Hurricane Katrina consumed most of New Orleans including my neighborhood, home and studio. When we were allowed back into the city to assess the damage I pried open the water-swollen door to my home and found the residue of a beautiful underwater kingdom of exotic and colorful mold; odor aside my living room looked like an ancient lake bed. Most memorably was a sturdy curio cabinet full of an assortment of seldom-used wine glasses and brandy snifters. Although the floodwaters had gently receded each of these glasses remained full of Katrina water to the tip-top brim. I carefully poured off the water into a big 5-gallon water bottle. I still have that sealed container of Katrina.
To make a long story a little shorter and to jump forward seven years to 2012 and another Hurricane, this time in Rockaway Beach, New York, my home and studio flooded again. Perhaps foolishly but with a real desire to witness it all first hand I didn’t evacuate like we did for before. As my now grown up son and I were shuffling books and drawings upstairs in waist-high water with flashlights in our teeth to light the dark path I realized we were back in that barrel of water and that the experiment continues. A few days later the Red Cross gave us nicely wrapped emergency blankets, which I saved for this project.
All of that said I hope the title of this exhibition: Red Cross Blankets as well as my repeated imagery of “fluid volume” containers, makes better sense for the viewer. I remain preoccupied with the empirical measurement of cups, pints, quarts and gallons as I prefer water in small controllable containers.