In the Woods

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
 – Second Site
September 2010 – December 2010

Thus wandered these two prettye babes,
Till death did end their grief;
In one another’s armes they dyed,
As babes wanting relief.

No burial these prettye babes
Of any man receives,
Till Robin-redbreast painfully
Did cover them with leaves.

Originally installed at the Brolo Hill Farm at the Schuykill Center for Environmental Education in 2009, “In the Woods” was an installation that placed 36 drawings depicting cryptic actions on road signs into the natural surroundings. The drawings were broken into 3 “acts”: the enticement, the partaking and the repercussion that formed an emotional tapestry with no singular narrative thread. The installation used the context of road signage – the shapes, stature and materials – to literally become “warning signs” scattered throughout the landscape. The drawings, made using computer cut black reflective vinyl (traffic engineering film) mounted on matte black painted aluminum panels that appeared mostly solid black during the daytime, were intended to be seen at night via flashlight.

“In the woods” refers to being in a place either physically or psychologically that you really don’t belong. The three acts were derived through improvisational scene development with an actor (Aram Aghazarian) and were documented via photography and eventually edited down and drawn using brush and ink.  Aware that the work would never be seen in a prescribed order or some pieces might be missed, a linear narrative was avoided. In its place an “emotional tapestry” was used, in which all of the drawings expressed a certain uneasiness of feeling out of place, vulnerable and over ones head. Combined with the location of Brolo Hill Farm (way out in a far corner of Philadelphia) and the necessity of seeing the work at night, the experience of viewing the drawings reinforced a sense of being “In the Woods.”

The title originates from the fairy tale “Babes in the Woods” a very horrific story that doesn’t resolve itself in a happy way – children are given to an uncle by dying parents and the uncle leaves the children in the woods to die… that’s it, THE END. “In the Woods” stemmed from a recursive thought exercise about being in that most vulnerable state where you are so far out of your element that there is really no hope for survival as well as the places that we can go physically or mentally that can have severe repercussions. Although we don’t have to actually go to these dark psychological corners, we can experience them by scaring the hell out of ourselves via roller coasters, horror films or drawings.

The exhibition was reinstalled at the AIGA space gallery in November 2013

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