Along Tamiami Trail on Florida’s Gulf Coast there is a deep parking lot with old derelict boats scattered around between the parking spaces. Some are on stumps, others stuck in the ground pointing skyward. Perhaps they have been put there as decoration, or perhaps to help you find your car after a long day (or night). The sign out front says “Bob’s Boathouse,” and indeed there is an establishment set way back from the road, near the water’s edge.
Some checking revealed that this is a relocated restaurant that has been wanting to reopen for a long time, but has been stalled due to county requirements. On the day I was there, a bulldozer was at work in one corner, so perhaps things are moving again.
Much of Florida has been taken over by the new, the sleek, and the homogenized. In the midst of all this ordinariness, the originality of Bob’s Boathouse parking lot stands out. I, for one, hope it will stay.
The image above is the postcard publicizing my show of new work opening here in Christiansted on May 15th. I hope those who live on St. Croix will come, and I encourage those who live elsewhere to view the show when it becomes available on my website after the opening. I’ll post a direct link here next week.
Selecting the images for a show is one of the hardest tasks. Often, images that hold some meaning for me do not resonate with others. Even more confounding is the pressure to cover costs — both mine and the gallery’s — and the emotional reward of making a sale. The decorative, whimsical and happy images are often more likely to find a home with someone than those with darker themes. So when choices must be made, some of those less likely to attract a buyer get left behind. While this self-censorship may be rational when assembling a show, it can poison the well if allowed to infect the creative process itself.
On a lighter note, the image below is of a group of small fishing boats and dinghies stacked near the boardwalk in the heart of town. These simple boats have their own kind of beauty with their peeling paint in many colors, and the curve of the stem as it meets the keel.
We no longer trust beauty as a serious means of investigation. But it can be ... In fact, beauty can be incendiary; it can be subversive; it can make us cringe.
-- David Maisel, Photographer
"It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it." -- Anais Nin
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders of the universe, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.” -- Rachel Carson