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4'x3' acrylic paintings of hay bales that came apart in the baler and slumped, allegorical to my cattle ranching father dying of cancer.
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Entropy Bale
Allegory of my father's cancer. 4'x3'. Acrylic.
This is an excerpt from a essay I created during my MFA to parody Conceptual Art, creating a premise wherein a post-Post Modern aesthetic is applied to creating round hay bales. This flowery little ditty was created at my father's kitchen table on a bright summer day in late July of 2001- it was written to be a bit over the top, as a journal entry of the lead female character who is newly smitten by the Montana ranching lifestyle. It does, however, point toward this body of work.

the form of the bale is an infinite spiral in a finite space. the bail encapsulates verdant spring in all her glory of alpine wildflower and rich meadow grass. the bale is a talisman of Persephone to keep the earth from despair when she is gone to Dis. in their Montana homeland they are life itself in the depth of northern winter. they are formed by one man and many machines, formed to care for his herd. they are a testament to a life lived in harmony with seasons, of a man who lives his bond to the earth. when he was young the work was done with horses and a family of eight. now, with the aid of machines, he runs the ranch alone. the individual working in isolation with machines in a landscape that wants to swallow up all signs of man.
the fields of baled hay hold a mathematical symmetry, a cosmological grouping, a sense of the underlying structure of the universe, man’s conception of the LOGOS in tangible form, man’s existential desire for form and meaning and harmony.
multiple objects made by machines, too large to be moved without machines, yet they blend into the vast landscape and offer no affront to nature. they are of a relationship of man and earth, of plant-life and season and faith in nature, of man understanding self and world and his own constant animal effort. they are a bridge, not only man and earth, not only of summer in winter, but of humanity through all seasons. they are a pure conception of time as spiral, space as curve, mass as direction, and the mysterious simultaneity of gravity and electricity which is best sensed when the self is in motion around the static bales so that the relativity of time, distance, and perception bespeak the physics and metaphysics of the particular. the deep aesthetic of science arises with this motion, twin to the deep aesthetic of art.
they are objects created to be unmade. in the depths of the northern winter they are unwound, rolled backwards to their spiral under a cold sun that dazes the night for a few short hours before the earth returns to darkness and the sky to stars and moonlight and silver tendrils of Aurora Borealis, spring is uncapsulated and devoured by the harsh winter gods, the Norse apocalypse of endless dark winter destroying all creation crushes inward with the cold, but faith of seasons is offered in the Greek trust of Dionysus’ annual resurrection, even after his death that heralds all tragedy.
I returned to the Entropy Bale in the spring of 2013.  The prior 3 paintings were done in the spring of 2009. The bales are painted from photos taken in the summer of 2000, when the old baler was malfunctioning and so an upper pasture came out loosely wound. The photos resurfaced after my father died of cancer in 2009, and the original 3 were completed as an allegory to his cancer. This latest bale was begun on the 4 year anniversary of his death. I wasn't as confident in my painting chops upon starting this one, and I laid out the basic dimensions in blue tape prior to blocking in the basic forms- but it got me started.