The Mountain in Our Living Room
There was only one photograph of the mountain ever taken. That was when I graduated from high school. In it, I am standing in front of the mountain in the foliage-inspired pattern of the graduation dress my mother made for me. All you can see of me is my face and hands – the dress blends into the foliage of the plants embedded in the mountainside. The photo is also a memory now; it disappeared years ago.
The mountain was a work in progress throughout my teen years. My mother began her installation when we first moved into the new house and couldn’t afford furniture. All we had in the living room was a wall-to-wall carpet and a hi-fi radio/turntable unit. The mountain stood on a curved plywood base. It had 5” furniture legs to support it, and to allow my mother to vacuum underneath. Hammered in position to the base were wooden crates stacked to varying heights. The crates were covered with chicken wire which was manipulated to form slopes, peaks and valleys. My mother also fashioned craters at the tops and sides of the mountain into which she buried earthenware pots with tropical plants. The contrast in scale between the lay of the land and the giant vegetation sticking out at odd intervals, made the mountain look surreal. Adding to the dreamscape quality of the installation were two other elements: one was the Mactac™ shelf paper with its overall random pattern of pebbles, that covered the chicken wire; and the other was the fully functioning and well-stocked aquarium, partially buried into another crater, that transformed into a tropical lake by the mountain path. There was nothing better then than classmates coming over on wintry weekend nights, lying on the living room carpet and listening to records by the glow of the aquarium light.The drawings in this series The Mountain in Our Living Room have embedded within them photographic fragments of life around the mountain. The mountain itself is never actually visible. It remains the enigmatic, ephemeral core around which revolves a family and from which extend into time and space memory, history and myth.