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jb daniel artist art conceptual chicago

"Tending" Solo Exhibition - Cultivator at Bray Grove Farm

Joanne asked me if I would be interested in doing an installation at Cultivator Bray Grove Farm just as I was headed to Southern France for an artist house/studio exchange with artist Gwen Gerard. I responded with “of course”. Joanne and Brian were kind enough to allow the proposal for the installation to simply be a consideration while I was in France. As I walked through the olive groves and vineyards, I came to an understanding of the installation. The consideration engages; a conversation from almost a decade ago with a buddhist monk/vineyard owner, my past experience at Bray Grove Farm during Kate Ingold’s exhibit there, and my own food growing here in Pullman (Chicago, IL).

The monk had said (loosely translated) that he only tends to the dirt (not the grapes), and that this is half the work and makes better grapes. I loved the idea of tending to the dirt (not the yield) and all the philosophical and metaphoric implications that come with that. A few weeks ago while still in southern France, I was lucky enough to be invited to help with a grape harvest, thanks to Damien, who arrange a day in the fields of an organic vineyard (Trois-Terres) in Octon. During the harvest, I gathered some dirt from the vineyard that I used in constructing the “dirt dishes” for the installation.

The 37 revolving sky images projected on the staircase wall come as part of an ongoing practice of making daily sky pictures. The images are from the 37 days I was in France considering this installation.

The bucket of collected rainwater comes form Pullman (Chicago, IL) where I live and we grow our food. Our modest efforts include a small salad garden in the back of the home/studio and plot of greens at the Pullman factory site.


Cultivator - Chicago Art Exhibitions & Farm Art Projects
Bray Grove Farm

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