Big Sky

Big Sky


In Texas, there is some big sky.  It is part of a romantic landscape that serves as a backdrop for that part of American cultural heritage defined by austerity and hard, strong gestures.  American minimalism and industrial ingenuity/machismo are phenomena that are complicated and nuanced.  But they are also, essentially, informed by American landscape visuals: big sky, vast rolling hills and endless fields, an occasional cow.

My father was born on a farm in Texas. There are three defining elements on that farm: the ruins of the farmhouse built by my grandfather in wood, now weathered a splintered, textured grey; a small lake, almost dry this season of historic Texas drought; and a huge Pecan tree. These are punctuations in an abstract colorfield split-screen of pale yellow grass and pale blue sky. 

I drove up onto this land recently in a rented Cadillac and it felt good. 

There is air and horizon and, apparently, my roots. I wanted to cut out all the extra crap from everything in my life and appropriate this hard-edged-drawn, hardly natural-seeming Texas vista. Later, ridiculously, a full round spotlight moon came up over the fields and split the farmhouse into silver slivers, so there was magic as well.  So Hollywood.

Johanna Grawunder
April 2012