Long, Richard
England (1945 - )
Puget Sound Driftwood Circle
116 in. (294.6 cm) length of longest piece of driftwood; 276 in. (701 cm) or 300 in. (762 cm) variable diameter
Purchased with funds from Rebecca and Alexander Stewart; William and Ruth True; Mrs. Carol Wright; H.S. Wright III and Kate Janeway; Kayla Skinner Fund; and partial gift of the artist and Donald Young Gallery
FA 99.6
Keywords: Tree (driftwood)

Collecting pieces of driftwood battered by the surf and sand along the way, Richard Long's walking path is documented in a single structural work cumulative of his entire journey. Unique to his journey and impressions, the artifacts collected comprise an essence found only in traversing the Puget Sound shoreline, and while the experience is merely imagined by the audience of this piece, the resulting sculpture speaks with a voice that portrays the physical walk in a way that eliminates description, cutting straight to the essential elements. Taking on challenges from artistic and conceptual spheres, his work walks a fine line between experience and materiality, and while doing so, begins to inhabit this marginalized space, creating a world where the complexities of nature and experience coexist with the fluid lines of conceptual art. To produce his art, Long walks. He walks in lines, circles and squares, along coastlines and desert plains. He collects or distributes pieces of nature which define his experience and the essence of his nomadic, artistic journey. His walks are sometimes predetermined paths and often dependent on the organic lines of beaches where water meets land. Whether engineered or accidental, his perception of the land depends on this path, and it is along this path that he collects artifacts of nature fit for the documentation of experience. Long's experience is his art. He describes his work as "created first in response to the experience of nature" which reinforces the conceptual aspects of his work, but aside from the initial inspiration hi work is comprised as a set of linear perceptions taken in as he walks. As the experience is taken in over time, so is the material, a way of subtlety fingerprinting nature as he passes through, stealing tiny identities to aptly render his experience. Our small windows into Long's experience are his relocated and distilled versions collected, assembled in a concentrated form in the gallery, and arranged in a way specific to the art of the completed walk. In this way, Long manages to encompass experience with objects like rocks or driftwood taking them unmodified from shore or prairie, and placing them in a new environment where they can emit the aura of the original landscape. Their collective aura is found in the final arrangement where Long juxtaposes minimalist shapes with the most complex of natural materials. --Label copy for Long Trek, May 25, 2001 to May 12, 2002.

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