Friday, January 20, 2012
Notes on Abandoned Rural America Exhibit
Why I Planned This Show
Throughout my life I have marveled at the beauty of nature, been drawn to the time-worn lines of character in the faces and hands of older folks, was inspired by the mysteries in untamed woodlands and wetlands. When I was a kid growing up in the mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania I would hike for hours in the woods to explore old trails where I would discover old rock structures thought to have been created by Native Americans for shelter. Old farmhouses are kind of like that to me. A wonder of people’s past lives, now devoid of human development, at the mercy of the elements and left to the wiles of nature’s transmutations.
Some of the abandoned farm buildings were built so well that they would last for generations making one wonder why anyone would leave these houses empty and deserted. I can almost feel the spirits of the people who once settled in these rural buildings, visualize the children playing in the yards, husband chopping wood for the fire, wife preparing dinner for the family or working at the spinning wheel or sewing machine making clothes for them all. It occurs to me that the folks settling in these places had hopes and dreams for the future of their families and that they were possibly laying the foundation for future generations of their descendants to have an estate the family will always call their own and then have everything change direction forcing them to desert the homestead forever.
My grandparents came to America from the Ukraine and Russia in the early part of the twentieth century and worked hard to establish such a foundation for the Muzyka family. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way and each of their children went their own way abandoning the family homestead. This has always affected the way that I view the loss of family ties and the vacant, sad and lonely structures that represent broken dreams. It is often said that the eyes are a window onto the world. I see the windows of these abandoned homes as eyes that have seen the lives of vibrant people gone away leaving behind the spirit of their hopes and dreams.
I‘ve invited 3 artist friends to participate in this opening exhibition. Possibly in the future, if this show is accepted and travels to other areas, I may be able to invite other artists to participate as well as add new works to the exhibition.
This book and exhibit is dedicated to the memory of all the dreamers and planners whose prospects for the future were irrevocably changed leaving behind an ethereal visage of what once might have been.