My American West Is A Fantasy is my interpretation of the American West through written poetry and made objects. I wrote the chapbook Under the Midnight Sun / I Am Without Horse And That Devil Sun, She Will Rise Again and created objects that act as illustrations.
As a New Englander with no experiential knowledge of the American West, I built the work based on collected images I have gathered through Western films and American literature. My portrayal of the West is both campy and somber.
The poetic vignettes tell a story of a cowboy traveling the American West and his encounters with the creatures of the land. The vignettes are mixed with other poems that act as abstractions from the larger narrative. The abstract poems reveal the distortion I see in the American West. The poetry inspires what I build.
The objects exist together, ideally in a home. I use materials that are associated with modern design and urban industry, such as walnut and concrete. I pair these materials with a natural component of the animal, for example horsetail hair and the antler’s of a white-tailed deer as a way to bring the land into the home. I use the animal to inform the design of the object. They straddle the line between sculpture and furniture, some more apparently less functional than others.
The objects tell a story about my fantasy of the American West. This work shows the romanticized beauty I associate with the landscapes and creatures of the American West. I am not looking at the West from a historically accurate perspective.
The cowboy from the poetry is a reference to my older brother, Andrew. My brother is in prison in Arizona, yet he hasn’t seen the western landscapes that I have idealized so much. This narrative is my way of grieving the absence of my brother and a way for Andrew to experience the landscape that he inhabits but cannot see.
Cowboy Andy is my way of keeping a relationship with Andrew.