ON A FEW ACRES OF DESOLATE CALIFORNIA DESERT, a man named Noah Purifoy settled in and went about making art for the final fifteen years of his life. His outpouring of sculptures, many of which are big enough to walk through, are now an outdoor museum. After I managed to locate the museum at the end of a narrow track off an obscure dirt road in the Mohave desert, I was so taken by the creative energy pulsing through the site that I could barely hold still to take proper photographs.
Below is part of a large sculpture made from discarded objects, Purifoy’s material of choice. In this piece, fabric has been cut, torn, glued and stapled to a wood surface, then subjected to at least ten years of desert sun and wind.
Walking around and into the installations moved me to look carefully and think differently about materials and their relationships. Purifoy’s spirit is catching. I wanted to jump in and join him, even though he’s been gone for ten years. Just to see what would emerge, I cropped the photo and converted it to black and white, revealing expressive folds and torn edges in the cloth that might evoke a landscape of thwarted desire. Or something else entirely – this is art that invites participation. At the top of the page is my reflection in part of another sculpture which involves a broken mirror and glass on the ground, enclosed in a complex, room-like structure. Soon I’ll post more photos of Purifoy’s sculpture.
“I do not wish to be an artist. I only wish that art enables me to be.”
Noah Purifoy (1917-2004)
The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is to share a photo of something that is art in your eyes. Purifoy’s work is art to me, and it moved me to tweak my photograph of his art, making more art…
More WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge “Art” experiences can be found here.
The Noah Purifoy Foundation: