Melissa Cameron - Marfa TX
11 September - 13 October 2019
Exhibition opening Friday 13 September 6pm - 8pm
My past is a foreign country. We do things differently t/here.
In 2017 I went on vacation to Marfa, TX, with Bruce and Elaine. A town put on the map as a railroad water stop, it’s three hours drive from El Paso and one hour from the Rio Grande. In the last century ranchers, rangers, POW’s, and refugees have all passed through. Since the 1970’s it’s been a permanent home to the works of artist/designer Donald Judd. Since his death these installations, and his preserved studios, have drawn visitors from all over the globe.
Marfa is in the Chihuahuan desert; there, dropped steel has a long life on the ground. Seeing steel, and knowing I could geotag what I picked up using my phone’s camera, I started a solo scavenger hunt. It covered a campsite; a former US military base (now a part of the Chinati Foundation); the grounds of hotels, diners, galleries and museums; and the dusty streets and sidewalks of the town.
My time/space capsule of finds moved continent with me in 2018-2019. It was finally reopened in Perth. I printed the photos, matched and mapped the finds, researched, and drew. I used this data, and the found objects, to make jewellery.
Since childhood I have picked up bits of metal from the ground. In Marfa, recording and collecting felt instinctive, inevitable. In Perth, I struggled to understand my compulsion at that time and in that place. I had to be with the collection and contextualize it, almost archeologically, in order to reimagine it.
Some finds have been altered significantly. Others minimally. All have travelled far. As have I.