objects on a flat surface (on collecting, redux)

there is a rule in our house:  no flat surface goes unused for display.  this has been a rule in all of the houses i have ever lived in & for as long as i can remember.  this does not mean there is no open space & that when you enter our home the first thing you would think would be, “hoarder!”, but at this point in time, we fearlessly face every opportunity to arrange, exhibit & remember the past (& the present & the future) through the well-placed grouping of collected objects (i’ll avoid using ‘objets d’arts’, oops, too late!)

whether it’s a piece of glass (see above) dug up from the backyard of the home i grew up in (built on landfill) or a ceramic pot (also born of fire) the story of which has been lost to time, we look for the connections that bring disparate items together, such as the grouping pictured that resides on top of the cabinet in a bathroom.

much of these displays are in response to innate, unspoken, visceral rumblings, perhaps even primal (dare i say genetic?) electrical charges that course through our bodies.   we don’t question this urge, although we may engage in conversation afterward that touches on placement, tone, inflection, editing; the answer then to the question of an empty space.

lava then, with other rocks, glass, pots.   but, lest you think it’s a bit too twee, you must understand that we don’t set out with a plan; it’s truly just a matter of reaching into one box & pulling out this found object or that one & putting them where they belong.

perhaps i’m not explaining the process properly & perhaps i never will be able to explain it properly (some of you will know exactly what i mean, others will scratch their heads wondering what the fuss is all about, or even if there is a fuss,) but when you come into our home you’ll feel something, a very base understanding of who we are & what we’re all about, said without words but through a visual diary of experience that we’re compelled to share not only for our own pleasure, but for our friends’ as well.

this two foot square flat surface then, rises 73″ above the floor, most of you would not even be able to see the top or even all of the objects that reside there & it’s true that it does not always register on a conscious level, even with me, i who am in & out of the cabinet below on a daily basis.

it is a matter of knowing it is there that is important to me, not so much the looking at it, as each part of it has a little bit of me (& us) attached to it, the grime, the smudge, the ash & the erasure (a chiaroscuro, if you will) of our lives (to date.)  the ram’s head alone has its own thrilling tale to tell, should it ever decide the time is right for a full confession (& perhaps in the harsh light of the interrogation room, & under duress, it might spill its plaster-of-Paris guts.)

what then, the reader may ask, comprises a collection & how do you know when you are a collector?  my short answer:  we are all collectors of one kind or another; it may be string (don’t laugh,) it may be renoirs (again, no laughing,) it could even be stories (do not think collecting is reserved for only that which you may hold in your hands,) but i believe we humans are like double-sided tape, picking up the lint of life without even a thought (or a care in the world.)


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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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