The geographical landscape immediately struck me like the long pans of Andalusian Spain posing as the American southwest during many an opening credit sequence of the mid-‘60s spaghetti westerns…miles and miles of undisturbed land, sprawling with the soon-to-be-introduced theme of lawless opportunism. I’d muster an educated guess that this decidedly anarchistic tone was damn well present in the late 1800s as well, when appetites for riches drenched in liquid gold and the employment possibility in tow drove greater settlement numbers.
And in the little time that I’ve spent there, Big Bend and Terlingua seem like places where everybody KNOWS everyone, and yet no one knows anything ABOUT anyone, and damn it, let’s keep it that way, an unspoken, immovable law. Drug addicts, dealers and traffickers, alcoholics, war veterans, nervous illegal aliens, quietly sinister law enforcement officers, the broken-hearted, desert folk with no stomach for the modern world (on some days, I say Amen to that, brothers and sisters of the West Texas wind), entrepreneurial disasters ducking eternal creditor heat, outdoorsy searchers convinced of the whole get-lost-to-be-found principle….and the list of potential players goes on. It feels like a world where everyone has a heavy history that will never be lightened by the telling of the tale. Added drama to create blog fever? Maybe. Weighted nevertheless? Absolutely.
For this reason in particular, I dug Brian C. Bosworth’s current collection showing at The Yard Dog, entitled “Three Day Bender and Other Stories from the Big Bend”. Most interested in his immediate environment, this Marfa-based artist carves wood into large-scale models that document the idle (tequila and beer bottles, old school pop tops) and the not-so idle (a law enforcement star that reads ‘cocaine sheriff’, stacks of cash, and lots of guns and ammunition) lifestyles of the area 100 miles south of his home. There’s plenty of sitting around getting loaded, sure, but there’s also big business in the name of trafficking dope and people, and just as sizable a business to look the other way. There’s a primitive quality to the work that looks animated to me, not unlike some of the title sequences of the very same genre of film that I’ve chirped about ad nauseam for the last 650 words or so. But even with bleak subject matter, Bosworth’s humorous approach let’s us check things out a distance, stoking whatever ember of curiosity one might have to go visit that particular part of our peculiarly beautiful state where so much and so little happen simultaneously. It’s a concise space, and a quick visit, and taking a gander into The Yard Dog whenever you’re down South Congress way before the end of the month is well worth it.
www.sawdustpoet.com – you can see a wide variety of the artist’s work here far beyond the exhibit – carvings for doorframes, tables, some nice flatware, etc.
www.spaghetti-western.net – For the especially curious, after all of my a-ramblin’.