refuges

  refuges 
  oil on canvas l 32"x96" l february 2010  l  contact artist for price   
   (click image to return to gallery)   
 
  refuges 
   (click image to return to gallery)   
  

This work is based on the same oasis concept as in Crater Lake, but it collages multiple small oases, each a tiny sheltered world apart from the surrounding desert.  Together, I picture them forming a more gradual transition from protected to exposed, with the larger oases at the center petering out into smaller ones to the left and off the canvas to the right. 

The photos, once again from Erg Chebbi in Morocco, were taken during a sandstorm.  The mini-oases were isolated by dunes and nearly absent to begin with, so that rarely were more than a few, if any, palms (Phoenix dactylifera) visible at a time.   Although they could probably provide some degree of refuge from the wind and sand, they possessed an evocative quality of loneliness and vulnerability - so the title of the work is meant to highlight the need for shelter rather than any real ability to find it.

I used the fracturing technique to cluster the oases together (duplicating the largest one three times) while trying to preserve each one's sense of isolation and singularity.  The irregular shapes of the fragments suggest the forms of the surrounding dunes and, along with the ambiguous distinction between sand and sky, express the overall chaos of the experience.

Darren