Los Inmigrantes

"Los Inmigrantes," found drift wood, 15"h x 101"w by Paul Dodd 2021
“Los Inmigrantes,” found drift wood, 15″h x 101″w by Paul Dodd 2021

I collected driftwood this summer, not every day, just when the conditions were right. The lakeshore rearranges itself daily. The waves sift and sort the tiny stones, the small stones, the shells, the seaweed and the sand, and it often presents the ingredients in an array at the edge of the lake. Plastic pieces only wash ashore under the right circumstances. We often see a woman collecting burnished pieces of glass.

Detail of "Los Inmigrantes," found drift wood, 15"h x 101"w x 2"d by Paul Dodd 2021
Detail of “Los Inmigrantes,” found drift wood, 15″h x 101″w x 2″d by Paul Dodd 2021

These wooden pieces, mostly pieces of bark worn by tumbling, are strewn along the beach after a storm. I imagine them coming down the river and then eastward to Durand. They make me think of los inmigrantes who, fleeing North Africa in overcrowded boats, often wash ashore in southern Spain.

I had a hell of time photographing the piece. Facetimed with Duane for help. Nineteen of them mounted on a white wall. The beauty of the wood is the subtle, warm colors but that is not the hard part. I mounted the wood pieces with two finishing nails, one end backed into the rear of the wood pieces and the other into the wall. So the pieces are suspended about a half inch off the wall. I wanted to show that relief but in order to light the wood properly I wound up casting strong shadows that made the pieces look like they were vibrating. Duane solved that for me.

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